Skip to main content

Full text of "The Mormon point-of-view"

See other formats



BX 8601 .M675 v.l 1904 
The Mormon point ot view ; 

BX 8601 .M675 v.l 1904 
The Mormon point o-f view ; 


3 1404 00 146 2347 




iv N. L. 

A Quarterly Magazine, owned and edited b 
Nelson. Professor of English, Brigham "Young I 
sity. Price, $1.00 a year; single copies, 30 cents. Office, 
445 N. 4 E., Provo City, Utah. Second-class postage ap- 
plied for. 

Vol. I. Provo City, Utah, Jan. 1, 1P04. No. 1. 


Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2013 

The Mormon Point of View. 


Looking upward from my study window 
toward the east, I see a magnificent range 
of mountains, — rugged and precipitous in 
their lower reaches, covered midway with a 
sombre belt of pines, lastly capped in the 
dazzling whiteness of eternal snows. On 
the south I look out upon a splendid valley, 
lately a sunburnt-desert echoing to the me- 
talic screech of the cricket; now variegated 
with garden, meadow, field, and orchard, 
and broken here and there by a succession 
of rural towns. The connection between 
what I see respectively from the two win- 
dows of my study, — between the snow-drifts 
on the mountain tops and the smiling val- 
ley below, — is too obvious to need pointing 

Why this Magazine is Needed. 3 

tion, a hereafter of our dreams. There is 
no heaven other tHn the Here and Now, — 
no hell more dreadful than that which over- 
takes the sinner every day, — if he could but 
realize the deadening effect, the soul-paral- 
ysis, of his evil deeds. 

That there will be a future Heaven, both 
as to mental state and also as to locality, — a 
time and place in which the Here and Now 
shall have advanced ineffably in glory — 
who can doubt that observes the trend of 
human life? That there will also be a 
future Hell — the sum-total both as to place 
and mental state, of the daily accumulations 
of discord in the soul, — accompanied per- 
haps by a keen awakening, — is also past 
question to any believer in the persistency 
of life after death, who notes the progress- 
ive downward tendency of the unrepentant 
sinner. These future epochs in the soul 
may readily be conceded. 

The point to bear in mind, however, is 
this: that future states, being progressively 
the outcome of present states, do not differ 
from their precursors in kind but only in 
degree ; and consequently, that any Here 
and Now is heaven or hell to us at a given 
time, in precisely the same sense that the 
future will be, when it in turn becomes ouf 

But in a more spiritual sense, let us live 
this miracle of transformation over again. 
Let those dazzling banks of congealed health 
and wealth, — pure, beautiful, enhaloed by 
heaven's own blue, but withal cold and dis- 
tant, — stand for the religious ideals of man- 
kind. Next let the valley again be con- 
ceived as barren and unfruitful ; let its 
teeming and throbbing evidences of life, its 
marvelous commingling of form, color, 
sound, and motion, be counted for what 
they are — the world of Mammon in which 
we live, and breathe, and have our being; 
overlook all these things, and still see vast 
stretches of soul-barrenness among man- 

Then the purpose of this magazine is 
to help melt those snows — those lofty ideal- 
izations of theology and philosophy — and 
cause them to flow downward to the thirsty 
valley of spiritual life; help dig the canals 
and laterals to the sun-baked regions of the 
human heart; help direct the emancipated 
streams of God's truth upon the social, 
moral, and spiritual deserts in a world given 
up to greed and self-seeking. 

Religion must be socialized; it has too 
long been cultivated for the sake of a hypo- 
thetical Heaven — a paradise of the imagina- 


The Mormon Point of View. 

Here and Now. Furthermore, as we shall 
be able to realize those future states only as 
time thus brings us into them, it follows 
that the only Heaven man need strive for, 
the only Hell he need fear, is the Heaven or 
the Hell of daily living. 

It is the failure to keep this elementary 
fact in mind that has led to most of the 
shams and artificialities in religion. Men 
walk through this life with their eyes glued 
upon a paradise in the clouds, and so miss 
the only paradise the universe has to offer 
them, the paradise of the natural (which is 
also the spiritual) world around them ; their 
imaginations being filled with a mystic 
"beatific vision" remote in time and space, 
they fail to find and commune with God and 
Christ daily, from the rising to the setting 
of the sun ; dreaming as they do of a heaven 
"beyond the bounds of time and space," 
they become callous to their responsibilities 
in the social world, the world of men and 
brave deeds — the only heaven man is yet 
fitted to know. It is thus that men are 
blinded to the majesty and glory of God's 
creations here below ; neither enjoying the 
bliss to be felt in this present heaven, nor 
helping to increase that bliss for themselves 
— in the only way it can be done — by trying 

Why this Magazine is Needed. ■> 

to increase the bliss of the Here and Now 
for others. 

Let the mind travel for a moment over 
the make-believes that have been contrived 
through the ages to blind man to his only- 
heaven, the Here and Now — and make him 
shirk his duties in it. First, the notion 
that bliss is an ethereal something located 
in a still more etherial somewhere; second, 
that to attain it, "man can do nothing for 
himself, — the blessed Savior must do it 
all ;" third, the consequent degeneration of 
the virile worship of "doing," into a maud- 
lin worship of merely singing and praying;, 
fourth, the mechanical conception that sal- 
vation, instead of being an organic — that is 
to say — a living, growing state of the soul, 
is an external relation, — a coming-out-of- 
some-place or going-into-some-place state 
of the soul, — that can be affected by the 
prayers and importunings of other men, by 
the absolution of priests, or by the perform- 
ing of pilgrimages, the building of church- 
es, and things of like nature; sixth, the con- 
sequent thousand-fold variety of pitiful sub- 
terfuges designed to bribe Peter and cheat 
Lucifer, — pitiful because of their bare-faced 
transparency ; the result of it all being, that 
the really vital relations affecting the desti- 

Why this Magazine is Needed. 7 

Babylon. They are still struggling with 
the tide of heredity. Their heads are above 
water, truly enough — which is to say, they 
see the better way; but their bodies are 
swept onward by the almost resistless cur- 
rent of tradition and convention. Or, to 
return to my first figure, their ideals, like 
snow-banks, lie unmelted high in the blue 
heavens of theory. When confronted by 
some desperate condition of society, they 
will all say, (and say truly) : . "That will 
never be settled until it is settled according 
to the Gospel." But when asked to point 
out the definite remedy for it in the Gospel, 
they return a vague answer. They see the 
snow on the mountain top, and they know 
its life-giving virtues ; but how to make it 
reach the arid social spot, they are quite 
content to leave solely to the Lord; the 
while they go on living a "respectable" life ; 
that is to say, the narrow, self-seeking life 
which custom and convention have saddled 
upon them. 

Let me not be too severe, however; Lat- 
ter-day Saints have done something toward 
cutting loose from Babylon, — so much, in- 
deed, that the "doing" side of their religion 
is made the occasion at present of wide- 
spread ministerial alarm. In colonizing, 

*» The Mormon Point of View. 

aiy of mankind, — the relations which min- 
isters of the Gospel call secular affairs — are 
left, in the language of these same called 
and chosen (!) to the "devil;" that is to 
say, in the hands of men and women who 
liave not "got religion." 

Latter-day Saints, realizing as they do 
that salvation is a progressive coming into 
harmony with law ; that heaven, the expres- 
sion of that harmony, is a state of the soul, 
"which inevitably causes gravitation to- 
wards a place ; that both state and place are 
ziow, and ever will be, on this earth ; — re- 
alizing, I repeat, these fundamental truths, 
their religion finds no place for the pious 
artificialities above enumerated. 

That is to say, in theory. In practice 
they are far from being free from them. 
Although it is preached every Sunday that 
the Gospel involves the sum-total of man's 
activities, secular or otherwise, — no one 
principle of truth being holier than another, 
—yet they go on looking skyward toward a 
hypothetical heaven, to the shameful neglect 
of the Here and Now ; all the time knowing, 
but not realizing, that the Heaven to come 
can be entered only by him who has seen 
and felt and lived the heaven that is here. 

What is the matter? They are still in 

8 The Mormon Point of View. 

for instance, they have carried out the poli- 
cy of small farms, with every family in pos- 
session of a home. In domestic life, they 
have come to regard adultery as a crime 
second only to murder, and made the stand- 
ard of chastity equal for both sexes. So, 
too, they believe in the natural right of eve- 
ry worthy woman, as well as of every wor- 
thy man, to honorable posterity ; but are re- 
strained, by choice of the lesser of two 
evils, from longer acting out the ideal. Some 
ideals — such as co-operation and the United 
Order — have been tried and found practic- 
ally beyond them : they are not far enough 
emancipated from Babylon as yet. Other 
ideals are looming up before them, as the 
dawn of progress brightens into day ; but 
after all is said, it is extremely difficult for 
them to change the inertia which holds them 
in the ruts ot conventionality — next to im- 
possible to leaven completely the dough of 
their worldliness. Practice drags woeful- 
ly behind theory. 

Naturally enough, — and would it were 
truer than it is ! — whenever the opportunity 
of "doing" presents a choice, as in politics, 
every Mormon acts in a way to conserve 
and promote his own ideals, rather than 
the ideals of his opponents. Nor is there 

Why this Magazine is Needed. 9 

the slightest occasion — how could there be? 
— for him to receive "dictation" from eccle- 
siastical superiors. To expect him to act 
differently is to suppose him devoid of com- 
mon horse sense. Herein lies the only 
coloring- of truth in the oft-repeated charge 
of union between church and state. As the 
Mormon's religion involves the sum-total of 
his aspirations and activities, it follows that 
politics, and all the functions of government 
to which it leads, must appeal to the same 
standard of conscience as any other truth or 
duty in life. How could Mormons do other- 
wise than act together? 

It is this all-inclusive notion of religion 
that ministers of the Gospel should attack; 
instead of stooping to lend a false aspect 
to some detail in the expression of it. "Why 
can't you people be like the rest of us?" 
said Grover Cleveland. Here was an in- 
vitation to come down to the world's dead 
level of conventionality ; accepting such 
ideals of life as respectability ( !) sanctions, 
and for religion a set of innocuous beliefs, 
the acting out of which is reserved for a 
hypothetical future world! Mr. Cleveland 
could have promised peace as a reward for 
such a surrender, also the good fellowship 
of all "Christians," and finally — oblivion. 

Why this Magazine is Needed. 11 

is, that we have need to change, or rather 
enlarge, the range of our methods. Hither- 
to it has sufficed to present the truth from 
its purely scriptural aspect. As a result, 
we have succeeded in gathering just that 
class of people — simple, honest, guileless, 
spiritual-minded Nathanaels — whom it was 
desirable to have as foundation stones for 
this new order of society. But there are 
others no less worthy: hard-headed think- 
ers, trained in the exact methods of mod- 
ern schools ; doubting Thomases of art, sci- 
ence, mechanics, and business, who value 
unsupported authority as nothing, even 
though it be Biblical ; without whom, never- 
theless, no scheme of social reform can pass 
very far beyond the speculative stage. In- 
deed, considering the constantly diminish- 
ing returns of our missionary work, it is 
pretty evident that the world has, during 
the last half century, veered almost com- 
pletely around from the Nathanael to the 
Thomas type of mind. Scriptural propa- 
ganda is no longer effective. 

Now, there is no arguing against facts. 
These men must be appealed to as they can 
be, not as they can't. If the ideals of Mor- 
monism can be presented in the terms of 
natural science and philosophy; if the prin- 

10 The Mormon Point of View. 

"If ye were of the world, the world would 
love its own." But may the day never 
come when Mormons shall value that love 
higher than their ideals; for the "love of 
the world is death." 

No. Mormonism cannot compromise 
with any religion on earth, nor with any 
other system at variance with its principles ; 
for Mormonism does not bring into the 
world the peace of a pusillanimous sur- 
render; it brings the sword of God's own 
truth. Let the apologist, the time-server, 
and the coward, take warning, therefore, 
and desert to the other side. There is no 
place in the Church of Jesus Christ of Lat- 
ter-day Saints for the half-hearted or the 

Our warfare is against error and injus- 
tice wheresoever, whensoever, and howso- 
ever intrenched. Nor can wrongs escape 
us by being dubbed social, educational, sci- 
entific, secular, political, economic, or other- 
wise ; for truth recognizes no such artificial 
distinctions. Ministers of sectarian church- 
es may continue to narrow their work to 
what they call evangelizing, — Mormonism 
can contemplate nothing short of the social 
regeneration of the world. 

And this brings me to my point; which 

12 The Mormon Point of View. 

ciples underlying our religion can be identi- 
fied with the facts involved in economic, 
educational, and sociological processes, then 
they will listen; for just now the relations 
of man to his fellow man is the one absorb- 
ing theme of humanity. 

Besides, this unfolding of the Gospel far 
down into its social, educational, and eco- 
nomic bearings, is needed more urgently 
among the Latter-day Saints themselves, 
than among the world. Progress in any 
direction implies a previous knowledge of 
the way. We are all convinced that this 
despised social nucleus called Mormonism, 
is destined to evolve harmoniously into the 
Millennium. Now, it can't be dreamed 
there, nor prayed there; it can come only 
as the result of a gradual social evolution, 
— a gradual shaping and moulding of the 
individual into harmony with definite prin- 
ciples of truth. God cannot bring it about, 
independently of man; any more than He 
can save man without man's co-operation. 

Surely, then, among a people holding 
ideals perfect as ours, and yet making wide- 
spread ship-wreck of the simplest social ex- 
periments, — I refer to co-operative stores, 
— there is need of thinking principles down 
to the details of their expression in life: 

IV hv this Magazine is Seeded. 13 

14 The Mormon Point of Vieiv. 

need of melting the abstractions of theory 
lying cold on the mountains of speculation, 
and releasing their truths that may flow 
down and invigorate the c ocial, moral, and 
spiritual deserts of the Here and Now. 

It is not knowledge, however, that Latter- 
day Saints need so much to give to the 
world. On the contrary, we need to bor- 
row in most directions, rather than to give; 
for in this particular, Daniel's prophecy has 
been literally fulfilled: "Many shall run to 
and fro, and knowledge shall be increased." 
But in spite of the increase, the running to 
and fro continues. It is in this particular, 
then, that v Mormonism can best help the 
world : it can contribute a point of view that 
shall unify and marshal into one grand, 
eternal perspective, all the fragmentary 
truths which now serve mainly to distract 
mankind. For this work — for the redistri- 
bution of the world's knowledge according 
to the Mormon point of view, — ten thous- 
and abler pens than mine are needed. Let 
me not shrink, however, from making a 
humble beginning. 

What this point of view is, should natur- 
ally have formed the leading article of the 
opening number. For various reasons, 
however, I have reserved it for the second. 

On: of these reasons lies in the fact that 
I have another article more germane to the 
present religious agitation ; viz.. "The Min- 
isters and the Mormons,"' a ten-thousand 
word thesis on the relative fitness to survive 
of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day 
Saints and the sects that are just now howl- 
ing against Mormonism. Other articles 
are summed up in the general title: "The 
Dictionary of Slander," which will be con- 
tinued in future numbers. 

In conclusion, let me beg the reader's in- 
dulgence for a frank, personal statement. 
The Lord has blessed me, I believe, with 
things to say, and will bless, so long as I 
shall remember what and who I am. Yet 
my present work throws me into direct 
contact — so far as the views above outlined 
are concerned — with fewer than one hun- 
dred young people each year. I desire to 
increase this class to ten thousand. In short, 
I would bring the Brigham Young Univer- 
sity, so far as my "philosophy of the Gos- 
pel" work is concerned, into the home of 
every Latter-day Saint. The difficulty con- 
fronting me is self-evident. To quote the 
brethren of the First Presidency : 

"We feel very much gratified by the spirit 
of your letter, and pleased with the article aet- 

Why this Magazine is Needed. 15 

ting forth the reasons why the magazine, which 
you propose to publish, is needed. As far as we 
are concerned, we should very much like to see 
a magazine published such as you have out- 
lined; It would undoubtedly be a credit both to 
you as its publisher and to our community. But 
will It pay financially, and can it be done with- 
out financial injury to yourself and family? - 
- - - To be frank with you, we are afraid It 
will not pay. ----•* 

It has required a very high estimate of 
the ideas I desire to set forth to induce me 
to venture forward in view of such wise 
caution as this. Nor can I hope to compen- 
sate the subscriber by mere quantity, as 
compared with magazines in general. The 
merit of this journal — if merit it shall prove 
to have — must be in quality ; and in suggest- 
ing this, I beg the reader not to think I am 
throwing a bouquet at myself, but rather 
that I am paying a tribute to the grandeur 
of our religion as it unfolds along advanced 

As for the outcome, I am fully aware 
that no moral bolstering ever yet succeeded 
in keeping alive that which intrinsically de- 
served to die, and consequently that my 
journalistic venture must, in the end, sur- 
vive or perish by that merciless, but still on 
the whole very beneficent, law — the survival 
of the fittest. In the meanwhile, it may not 

16 The Mormon Point of View. 

be out of place to suggest that the time to 
water a plant that you would really like to 
see grow, is while it is struggling for roots, 
not after it has failed to demonstrate its 
power to live without your aid. 

18 The Mormon Point of View. 




"It [the Mormon Church] is not to be edu- 
cated, not to be civilized, not to be reformed- 
it must be crushed. No other organization la 
so perfect as the Mormon Church, except the 
German army." — Rev. Charles Thompson, D. D„ 
of New York, before the Presbyterian general 
assembly at Los Angeles, May 26, 1903. 

During the last three quarters of a cen- 
tury, remarks like the above have formed 
the staple commentary on Mormonism; and 
the animus so expressed, bolstered indeed 
by whatever facts could be impressed into 
such service, has found its way into diction- 
ary, cyclopedia, and general history. It 
need not be pointed out here that these 
harsh judgments have almost invariably 
originated with those guardians of our 
moral and spiritual civilization, the minis- 
ters of the Gospel ; nor need it be wondered 
at, therefore, that the Mormons credit the 
unbalanced zeal of the preaching fraternity 
with being a prime cause of all the mob- 
bings and drivings which have marked 

them out as the persecuted religion of the 
nineteenth century. 

To the extent that we Mormons are Lat- 
ter-day Saints, we smile at and forget min- 
isterial zeal like that quoted above; for our 
religion teaches us to "do good to them that 
hate and revile us, and to pray fcr them 
that despitefully use us, and speak all man- 
ner of evil against us." 

But to the extent that we are merely 
Mormons, that is to say, human beings 
trammeled by church forms, we keep tab of 
such utterances — and the deeds which often 
follow them; whence it happens that by 
every human law of offense and reprisal, 
the sins of the clerical profession against 
the Mormons, should have accumulated by 
now past all hope of their ever establishing 
among us those bonds of fraternal sympa- 
thy which are indispensable to proselyting 
work among any people. 

As mere human beings, we cannot forget 
that it is their prejudiced views and mistak- 
en zeal that. have propagated the hundreds 
of lurid "Mormonisms Exposed," which 
have come to be as necessary as narcotics 
to many good people. Naturally enough, 
too, we resent the air of superior sanctity 
with which these same men condemn our 

The Ministers and the Mormons. 19 

religion unheard. And if our confidence in 
them is shattered by the way in which they 
sho<v us up, — from mere fragmentary and 
often misquoted passages ; and if our re- 
spect follows our confidence, when we see 
the obvious connection between our periodi- 
cal besmirchment by them, through the 
eastern press and pulpit, and their evident 
need of funds for the "Mormon crusade," 
is it not precisely what would happen with 
any other people under like provocation ? 

Now, if this animus of meddling clergy- 
men stopped with the godly men them- 
selves, one might regard it as a necessary 
evil, — a sort of escape-valve for the linger- 
ing spirit of Adam in them; but it spreads, 
— much faster than righteousness could, — 
as any message winged by hate always will ; 
so that more than once in the history of 
Mormonism a whole continent has been 
iniiuined against an unoffending people be- 
hind the Rocky mountains. 

One can readily imagine the mental pro- 
cess by which the opinion of the pastor be- 
comes the conviction of the congregation. 
Accustomed — not without good reasons — to 
consider his judgment as the standard of 
righteousness, the flock can only conclude 
that what excites godly anger in the shep- 


The Mormon Point of View. 

herd must be bad indeed; and on no other 
form of sin does the good man usually wax 
so righteously eloquent as on what he is 
pleased to call the delusion of Mormonism. 

And yet on the other hand, one cannot 
help wondering that, in an age of psychic 
analysis, several palpable phases of this 
wholesale denunciation are overlooked by 
the laity in coming to a conclusion. First, 
the spectacle of a reverend gentleman turn- 
ing red in the face and breaking out into 
anathemas against other interpreters of the 
religion of Jesus Christ, ought in itself to 
excite a cautious wonder; secondly, the fact 
that hatred (of Mormons) can temporarily 
unite sects which love (of Christ) has never 
hitherto brought together, ought at least to 
raise a doubt as to the real source of the in- 
spiration; thirdly, the fact that Mormonism 
thrives in spite of this combined assault of 
other religions, ought to suggest that right- 
eousness may possibly form a considerable 
part in the system- which this ministerial an- 
ger denounces; since by the growing wis- 
dom of the age, sin is coming to be regarded 
as weak, transitory, wholly incapaLle of co- 
hesion, — righteousness alone being vigor- 
ous enough to form and perpetuate an or- 
ganic system. 

The Ministers and the Mormons. 21 


The Mormon Point of View. 

All this negative agitation by ministers 
of the gospel could be overlooked, however, 
as what we ourselves might do under simi- 
lar circumstances ; but it will not down even 
with the best of us, that in all the drivings, 
mobbings, and sanguinary tragedies, which 
have accompanied the ostracism of this peo- 
ple, the sanctified figure in black has invar- 
iably turned up as the immediate plotter and 

If on the whole, therefore, Mormons do 
not rush to fill the sectarian churches estab- 
lished in our midst; if the advances of sec- 
tarian ministers are received with an under- 
current of distrust and suspicion; if they 
fail to interest, let alone convert us, — the 
reason, in part at least, lies evidently in 
their general attitude of contempt for us, 
and especially in the history of their deal- 
ings with us as a people. 




But the supercilious treatment accorded 
us by Christian ministers is, after all, only 
the minor, the superficial reason for our 
mutual antagonism. We are not morbidly 
sensitive, nor do we cherish a spirit of re- 

The Ministers and the Mormons. 23 

The reverend gentleman must not think, 
however, that his reasons for such harsh 
treatment are either new or novel; such a 
justification has invariably been working 
the basis of every religious crusade that has 
darkened the history of the world; save, 
perhaps, that where the bigots of former 
times proceeded in the name of God, this 
later Dominic invokes the name of civiliza- 

It is by no means impossible that we are 
on the eve of a new crusade; especially in 
view of the painful memories of Mormons 
still living. Do you think the thorns and 
thistles of the Middle ages forgot to cast 
their seed? Neither did the Inquisitors and 
witch-burners. The universal prate about 
liberty of conscience signifies nothing. No 
persecutors ever proceeded as conscious per- 
secutors ; nor did contemporary popular sen- 
timent recognize them for what they were. 

Religious bigotry is discernible, save by 
the few, only in perspective. It is ever a 
past, never a present vice, of any people. 
Couched in the cant phrases of the prevail- 
ing popular movement, it seems the very 
incarnation of purity and progress. The 
one persistent element in it, — if indeed, we 
may not call it the motive powei — is hate; 

taliation. Were we a secluded or insular 
people, sect-narrowness might perpetuate 
the memory of wrongs and stimulate the de- 
sire for revenge — as it no doubt did in the 
older days ; but what with two thousand 
Elders constantly on missions, and return- 
ing every two or three years laden with 
ideas and observations from every quarter 
of the globe, we are fast becoming the most 
cosmopolitan people under the sun ; and a 
cosmopolitan people are not very likely to 
hold a grudge. 

Besides, we are too often buffeted and 
bruised to harbor our injuries long. Let anv 
minister meet us fairly and squarely on the 
plane of equality, and there is no house of 
worship throughout Mormondom that 
would be closed against him, as many not- 
able incidents of the kind already attest. 

The real reason why the ministers and 
the Mormons are as oil and water, lies deep- 
er. What the Reverend Mr. Thompson 
says, contains a substantial truth. If being 
"educated, reformed, civilized," means being 
converted to his way of looking at things, 
then — well — like the rest of mankind, we 
have learned, when in a dilemma, to choose 
the lesser evil ; we prefer the crushing, — 
whatever that may signify. 

24 The Mormon Point of View. 

an element which should make even enthu- 
siasm pause; but this very quality itself — 
this bitterness and hate — masquerades as 
the supreme religious virtue — a righteous 
valor against iniquity. 

Now, as the crushing process has more 
than once been tried against the Latter-day 
Saints, why should it not be tried again? 
And as the "reform" demanded of us in the 
past has invariably meant "conform," and 
consequently has failed, — I am grateful for 
the opportunity of pointing out why any 
new attempt to crush ought not to be made, 
and if made, why it ought to fail, as it sure- 
ly will. In other words, I am grateful for 
this opportunity of putting the Church of 
Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints into sharp 
contrast with the "isms" whose efforts to 
bring us into line, so far from having de- 
veloped increased Christian patience and 
longsuffering in their promoters, have, I 
very much fear, ended only in balked and 
vindictive rage.* 

•Let me disclaim any Intention of arraigning 
ministers of the Gospel in general, save as they 
resemble our Job lot in Utah. These latter have 
declared war on us, and are therefore legitimate 
targets for my polemical harpoons. Unable to 
agree among themselves on tenet p.nd doctrine, 
they have yet found, deep down in their spirit- 

The Ministers and the Mormons. 25 

Mr. Elbert Hubbard, (Cosmopolitan, Oc- 
tober, 1902), in reviewing, with Philistine 
pen, the factors that would make for the 
Millennium, places this condition first: viz., 
"Men will decline to join a social club that 
calls itself a 'church'." 

I do not take it that Mr. Hubbard con- 
demns churches in toto — onlv those which 
have degenerated into fashionable clubs, and 
so hinder social progress. Let us, then, take 
this admirable criterion of the fitness of any 
church to survive: viz., its social effective- 
ness or inherent power to help usher in 
the millennium ; not on some world-to-be, 
but here on the third planet of the solar sys- 
tem. And by the result of such a compari- 
son, let it be judged whether Mormonism 
ought to be crushed — or cultivated. 



The virility of religion as an ethical modi- 
fier of the human family lies, at the last 
analysis, in its conception of God. Faith 


The Mormon Point of View. 

ual bosoms, a common bond of union — hatred 
of the Mormons. Just now they are unusually 
toinabby, to use an Indian phrase, ovei the 
prospect of unseating Senator Smoot. 

The Ministers and the Mormons. 27 

righteousness — or else to nullify — all the as- 
pirations and deeds of men. 

Along with this conception of God, the 
man whose faith is to help remove moun- 
tains (of sin), must have a conception of 
mankind equally definite and clear. He 
must feel himself categorically a child of 
God ; differing, indeed, in degree but not in 
kind from his Father in heaven ; potentially 
free as a moral agent, and actually free, to 
the extent that he has emancipated himself 
from sin ; capable of "becoming perfect as 
God is perfect." (Matthew 5 : 48.) 

Such faith, and faith in such objects, is 
enjoined on almost every page of Holy 
writ ; and as long as mankind worshiped 
the God in whose image (physical as well 
as otherwise) man was created; who 
walked as a man walks, in the garden of 
Eden; who conversed with Noah as one 
man converses with another; whose glori- 
fied person Moses beheld on Mt. Sinai; 
whose voice said in articulate words to John 
the Baptist: "This is my beloved Son;" 
whom Stephen, the first martyr, looking 
into heaven, saw side by side with the risen 
Redeemer; whom John the Revelator saw, 
seated on a great white throne, — as long, I 
repeat, as mankind believed actively in the 

dynamic enough to make for the betterment 
of the race, must be centered in a Being that 
can be both loved and feared. The first 
requisite, therefore, is that He be a Reality, 
not a metaphysical abstraction ; and the sec- 
ond, that He be a sympathetic Reality. In 
the words of Paul, we must first believe 
that He is, and next that He is a rewarder 
of them that diligently seek Him. 

In that word rewarder, lie summed up 
the foremost qualities which a live faith re- 
quires in its divine source. There must be 
felt, first of all, a relationship equivalent to 
that of parent and child, with all the best 
qualities which our own lives have taught us 
to associate with father and mother ; mercy, 
forgivenesss, daily guidance, anxiety, pro- 
tection, a haven of refuge on earth, and ul- 
timately an eternal home. And we must, 
moreover, feel that we can safely multiply 
these parent-qualities as many times in ef- 
fectiveness, as we conceive God to be 

greater than man. 

On the other hand, as a salutary restrain- 
er of evil tendencies, we must feel God to be 
the omnipotent creator and preserver of all 
things ; whose omniscient eye beholds even 
our secret thoughts, and whose omnipresent 
power and spirit pervades to shape towards 


The Mormon Point of View. 

Christ-type of God, their faith was a living, 
virile force, which shaped their daily lives 
in directions known peculiarly to themselves 
and the eye of their Maker. 

Then came the expansion of man's idea of 
the physical universe, and with it the mis- 
taken demands of reason for a conception 
of God commensurate with the new ideas 
of infinitude. Greek philosophy offered 
such a conception. St. John's remark, that 
"God is a spirit," was accordingly made the 
scriptural point of departure, from the "God 
of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob," to the God 
of Buddha. 

Into Buddha's cold abstraction, theologi- 
ans have since been trying to inject the 
warm qualities of Jehovah, — with what suc- 
cess from an academic point of view, let the 
contradictions of metaphysics bear witness; 
with what failure in the ethical betterment 
of the race, let the apathy and artificiality of 
the so-called liberal or intellectualized 
churches of today declare! 

Let us look more narrowly into this ques- 
tion of the Source of virility in religion. The 
only conception that any people can possibly 
have of Deity, is one which comes within 
their mental horizon — the horizon bounded 
by their experience. Into his personality 

The Ministers 'iiitSh&kJ&kDrmons. 29 


The Mormon Point of View. 

they will think their highest and noblest 
ideals. What they love most, fear most, 
admire most, will somehow be found among 
his attributes. To the extent, and in the di- 
rection that they are civilized and enlight- 
ened, to that extent and in that direction 
will He be idealized. 

It was therefore a profound remark of 
our Savior, that to know God is to have 
eternal life. No one can know him save as 
he becomes like Him. To know him abso- 
lutely is therefore to be perfect as He is per- 
fect, which of course could be nothing else 
than eternal life. 

By the same reasoning, to know Him in 
part is to be like Him in part, and therefore 
to be saved in part ; or, to generalize, we are 
saved (i. e., we have eternal life assured un- 
to us) no faster than we learn to know God; 
in other words, no faster than we become 
like Him. 

But becoming like him implies a progres- 
sive means of getting ideas about Him. Let 
us take time to see how this thought works 
out in practice. 



To know God is to have adequate notions 
of his personality in, say, five different as- 

pects; physically, intellectually, socially, 
morally, and spiritually. Manifestly these 
notions can come to man only as God re- 
veals them. The germ ideas respecting his 
personality are to be found in scripture; but 
these are meaningless, save as man thinks 
into them the content of his experience. The 
real revelation of God to man is, therefore, 
to be found in that which gives man experi- 
ence: in life — nature — law. 

If a man would have the noblest ideal of 
God's physical personality, let him master 
all that is known of physiology and hygiene 
— and conform his own life thereto; if he 
would realize His intellectual personality, 
let him become familiar with the elements 
of intellect in man, then calculate what 
must be the Intellect that could create and 
control a solar system, with all the myriad 
forms of life and being therein manifested; 
if he would know God's social personality, 
let him study sociology, determine what 
qualities in man would lead to love and har- 
mony: in the home, in the state, in the na- 
tion, in the world, — and then consider that 
God has so mastered these laws that heaven 
(ideal social harmony) is His habitat; and 
so of God's moral and spiritual personality : 
to the extent that man discovers and lives 

The Ministers and the Mormons. 31 

moral and spiritual law, — to that extent will 
he know God. 

It follows, therefore, from the very na- 
ture of things, that the honest man's con- 
ception of God is a progressively growing 
ideal. As, day bv day, he discovers law, 
(truth), and especially as he conforms his 
life to law, (obeys truth), so must his ideal 
of the Ordainer of law change; and let no 
council of ecclesiastics presume to lay an 
embargo on his soul, by pronouncing once 
for all what God is or is not. 

But this latter was precisely what St. Au- 
gustine and his brother monks tried to do 
for mankind. Consider for a moment with 
what possible hope of success. How much 
did these men know of that greater revela- 
tion of God, the book of nature, which flood- 
ed the last century with light? Interpreting 
Deity, as perforce they must, by the content 
of their experience, think what a narrow 
emanation of the life of the Dark ages their 
conception must bel 

What of his physical personality, consid- 
ered from the standpoint of ascetics, — men 
who despised the human body as something 
viler than the rags of a beggar? 

What of his intellectual personality, in- 

it The Ministers and the Mormons. 

terpreted by an age dogmatic and unscien- 
tific to the last degree? 

What of his social and moral personality, 
mirrored in the imaginations of men, whose 
highest social ideal was to shirk all contact 
with, and responsibility for the world, by 
living in caves, convents, and monasteries? 

What of his spiritual personality, judged 
of by the beings who wore stones away with 
their knees believing that mere adoration 
was pleasing to him ? 

Is it any wonder, then, that when men 
began to study science ; when they went di- 
rect to nature for their ideas; when they 
read God's purpose concerning man by 
studying man himself, especially in his rela- 
tion to social evolution, — is it any wonder, 
that they turned away from the artificial 
conception promulgated by theologians? 

For was not this idea of God, after all, 
only an intensified conception of the mediae- 
val monarch; whose approbation was to be 
gained, and whose anger was to be ap- 
peased, through the mediation of court- 
favorites, (saints, angels, the Virgin Mary, 
the Son of God), who might be bribed or 
cajoled into pleading the sinner's cause? 

Cuch a conception could not coexist with 

The Ministers and the Mormons. 33 

34 The Mormon Point of View. 

ideals attained through the larger general- 
izations of life. To find pleasure in the ser- 
vile prostration of multitudes, is not now 
conceived a noble trait, even in kings ; less, 
therefore, in the King of kings. 

To make life and death dependent on the 
mere caprice of human will, we have now 
come to believe unjust and dangerous, and 
accordingly have substituted the reign of 
human law; in the same way, eternal life 
has come to be conceived as dependent, not 
upon the favor or anger of Deity, (in the 
mediaeval sense), but upon divine law. 

But, as before intimated, in this shifting 
of the ultimate Source of volition and re- 
sponsibility, a great mistake was made. In- 
stead of stripping from the Christ or Bible 
type of Deity, all the vagaries and artificial- 
ties in which He had been clothed during 
the Dark ages, and then reclothing him ac- 
cording to the truer ideals of modern life, 
scientists overthrew the Type itself, and 
theologians eventually put in its place a 
vague generalization of spirit, from the no- 
tion that this would patch up the growing 
breach between science and religion. 

I repeat that a great mistake was made — 
which I should have no fear of demonstrat- 
ing, did space permit; for, after all, what 

The Ministers and the Mormons. 35 

but rather with the idea that Mormonism 
may have something new and entirely wor- 
thy of modern thought; for however true 
of the Augustinian conception, Carlyle's 
jibe of "an absentee God, sitting idle ever 
since the first Sabbath on the outside of his 
universe, and seeing it go" — has no mean- 
ing whatever in the conception believed in 
by Latter-day Saints. 



Let us take time now to see what Mor- 
mon philosophy and modern Christian phil- 
osophy have in common, albeit under differ- 
ent names. 

Perhaps Mr. Fiske, in his "Idea of God," 
states most clearly the Christian hypothesis 
when he says: "The world of phenomena 
is intelligible only when regarded as the 
multiform manifestation of an OMNIPO- 
TENT Energy that is in some way — albeit 
in a way quite above our finite comprehen- 
sion — anthropomorphic or quasi-personal. 
There is a true objective reasonableness in 
the universe ; its events have an orderly pro- 
gression, and so far as those events are 

type of creative intelligence, other than the 
man-type, can the race possibly come in con- 
tact with? Why, then, throw away the 
teaching of experience, from some fancy 
that it may be inadequate, and build upon 
non-experience, which we know is inade- 
quate ? 

The point of the foregoing discussion, so 
far as this booklet is concerned, is this: 
Mormonism, though starting, as it did, in 
the blaze of a scientific age, yet took for its 
object of worship the Bible type of God ; 
but it did not load itself down with the in- 
cubus of mediaeval interpretation. 

Like Christ, God is conceived as the per- 
fect, man ; but as to the meaning of'perfect- 
ed," no theologian of the past, however wise 
in the estimation of Christendom, can have 
a voice : each man knows God to the extent 
that he has grown like him ; and he has 
grown like Him to the extent that he has 
discovered and obeyed law. 

Mormonism thus finds in life, not in met- 
aphysical speculation, its commentary upon 
scripture. Accordingly, let the reader come 
to its investigation not with the pre-judg- 
ment that he is to witness the setting up 
again of a conception which has fallen a 
hundred times in previous polemical battles ; 


The Mormon Point of View. 

brought sufficiently within our ken for us 
to generalize them exhaustively, their pro- 
gression is toward a goal recognizable by 
human intelligence. * ***** 
Such a theory of things is Theism. It rec- 
ognizes an Omnipresent Energy, which is 
none other than the living God." 

With all which Mormonism is in per- 
fect accord, save the last clause. Instead 
of being itself the living God, this omni- 
present energy is regarded as merely a pal- 
pable evidence of the living God. 

Suppose no mortal being had ever seen 
the sun, nor any other heavenly body to 
give him the suggestion of its existence, — 
yet its effects on the earth remained pre- 
cisely as they are, excepting perhaps the 
phenomena of shadow. Under such cir- 
cumstances, could the scientist be persuaded 
that the phenomena of light, heat, actinism, 
magnetism, and electricity were not imme- 
diate expresssions of an omnipresent ener- 
gy, but were in fact effects of a cause local- 
ized in space? 

If he could, it ought not to be difficult to 
conceive the Mormon idea of God; not in- 
deed as that omnipresent energy, nor even 
as the creator of that energy — for it is self 
existent, eternal — but as the efficient Cause 

The Ministers and the Mormons. 37 

of its differentiation into the forces known 

to man. 

To quote Mr. Fiske again: "The fathom- 
less abysses of space can no longer be 
talked of as empty; they are filled with a 
wonderful substance, unlike any of the 
forms of matter which we can weigh and 
measure. A cosmic jelly infinitely hard 
and elastic, it offers at the same time no ap- 
preciable resistance to the movements of the 
heavenly bodies. It is so sensitive that a 
shock in any part of it causes 'a tremor 
which is felt on the surface of countless 
worlds.' Radiating in every direction, from 
millions of centric points, run shivers of un- 
dulation manifested in endlesss metamor- 
phoses as heat, or light, or actinism, as mag- 
netism or electricity. Crossing one another 
in every imaginable way as if all space were 
crowded with a mesh-work of nervethreads, 
these motions go on forever in a harmony 
that nothing disturbs. * * * * 

"It means that the universe as a whole is 
thrilling with Life — not, indeed, life in the 
usual restricted sense, but life in a general 
sense. The distinction once deemed abso- 
lute, between the living and the not-living, 
is converted into a relative distinction ; and 
Life as manifested in the organism is seen 

The Ministers and the Mormons. 39 

invent. Without God, the medium would 
remain changeless, inert, throughout all 
eternity, having no power of initiation with- 
in itself. 

This medium, which is coextensive with 
the universe, would, if unimpressed by God, 
perhaps present no attrition (i. e. no phe- 
nomena) to the present state of our intelli- 
gence ; the alternative fact, that this medium 
does present attrition to our senses, is there- 
fore only another way of saying that God 
by virtue of his will is 'in all things, through 
all things, above all things, below all things' 
— the animating principle of the created 

To put the distinction in scriptural terms, 
what Christians recognize as God the Fath- 
er, Latter-day Saints perceive to be the Holy 
Ghost (i. e. the universal medium colored 
bv the will of God). Christ himself draws 
this distinction: "Howbeit when He the 
spirit of Truth is come, he will guide you 
into all truth ; for he shall not speak of him- 
self, but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall 
he speak." Showing that the power of 
initiation does not lie with the Holy Ghost 
but with God. 

The failure to keep this distinction in 
mind is explicable perhaps on the ground 

38 The Mormon Point of View. 

to be only a specialized form of the Univer- 
sal Life." 

All this Mormonism believes implicitly, 
and goes one better. As early as 1832, sev- 
en years before Mohr announced the law of 
the conservation and correlation of energy, 
Joseph Smith identified all the cosmic forces 
with which man is familiar as differentia- 
tions of one supreme Force; declaring, 
moreover, — and this is where Mormonism 
is still in advance of the age, — that man's 
ability to perceive truth — the power vari- 
ously known as inspiration, genius, intellec- 
tual penetration — is only a higher power of 
this same "infinite and eternal Energy;" 
that is to say, just as a certain rate of vi- 
bration of ether gives the sensation of heat, 
and another rate the sensation of light, so 
still other rates, progressively varied, ac- 
count for all the psychic states resulting 
from our perceptions, respectively, of the 
many-angled aspects of a single supreme 
Force — the one universal harmony of 

But this power is not God: it is merely 
the medium through which He works, plus 
His will impressed upon the medium. With- 
out the medium, God would be helpless to 
execute, while still retaining all his power to 

40 The Mormon Point of View. 

that it is only through this universal medi- 
um that God's will is made to bear upon 
man ; just as it is only through the medium 
of the ether that the sun can influence the 
earth. Nevertheless such failure to perceive 
the distinction between God and the medi- 
um through which He works does not differ 
in kind from that which should fail to see 
the architect and builder behind the gray- 
granite temple in Salt Lake City. It is, in 
fact, a blindness of the same kind as that 
which would postulate an "all-soul" resid- 
ing in the materials used, as the adequate 
cause of the phenomena presented in all the 
mutations of the materials. 

And yet preposterous as seems this last 
supposition, let us see how nearly true it is, 
in fact. The gray-granite quarry, — to use 
again my illustration of the Temple, — exists 
only by virtue of the "infinite and eternal 
energy," which Christians identify with 
God, but which Latter-day Saints identify 
with the basic medium of the Holy Ghost; 
so do all other materials used, and so also 
do the architect and builders themselves; 
indeed, the very intelligence necessary to 
plan the Temple, and all the mechanical 
powers used in its construction, are trans- 

The Ministers and the Mormons. 41 

42 The Mormon Point of View. 

mutations, more or less remote, of this same 
universal spirit. 

What remains then for its finite creators? 
The initiative, and in a relative sense, the 
masterv of the materials and forces involved 
in its construction. 

Here then we come face to face with the 
essential characteristic of God : the power of 
initiative and the mastery of materials and 
forces ; not indeed mastery and control in 
the clumsy, mechanical fashion in which 
man seeks to imitate creative intelligence; 
but in the absolute triumph of mind over 
not-mind. In these two facts, — the power 
to invent and the will to execute, — lies the 
supremacy of God over the universe, even 
though He himself be limited in form to 
the Christ-type of being. 

In no other way are creation and control 
intelligible to man; for to place initiative 
and the mastery of the materials and 
forces in the materials and forces 
themselves, is unthinkable. It is a postulate 
that never has appealed and never can ap- 
peal to the experience of man, and, is there- 
fore no more worthy of credence than are 
the vagaries of Buddha's dream; among 
which, indeed, it stands foremost. 

If the Source of the Mormon religion — 

The Ministers and the Mormons. 43 

It seeems to me the utterest folly to at- 
tempt a generalization of religion in a sin- 
gle stroke. Pie who can do it, knows too 
much for this world, and should promptly 
take his seat among the angels; or else he 
knows too little, and should have the foster- 
ing care of a mental hospital. 

Nevertheless, some broad lines of differ- 
entiation need to be drawn between what, 
in religion, tends to serve and what tends 
to hinder the evolution of the human race. 
With this reservation, then, that our find- 
ings are to be regarded only as a groping 
after the truth, let us face the question. 
What should be the place of religion in the 
economy of life? 

In a previous chapter I took the ground 
that a religion to be virile enough to make 
for the betterment of the race, must be 
founded on a living faith — faith in a Being 
who can be both loved and feared ; also that 
the first requisite of such a faith is, that the 
Object of it be a Reality not a metaphysical 
abstraction, and the second requisite that He 
be a sympathetic Reality. 

But if religion is to be regarded as a gild- 
ed something superimposed upon life, a so- 
ciety for the culture, and especially for the 
display, of a religiously veneered estheti- 

and what we believe should be the Source 
of all virile religion — is thus made clear, I 
am ready to answer the next pertinent ques- 
tion connected with this general compar- 
ison: What is the true place of religion in 
the economy of life ? 



"Religion," says one of the growing crop 
of corrosive pens, "religion — the childish 
mistaking of pictures for facts, — the crass 
materialization of allegory, — the infinite tal- 
ent of man for humbugging himself, — and 
underneath it all the shadowy outline of 

It is something to be an iconoclast — there 
is work for him among the tottering, ivy- 
grown institutions that are out-living the 
ages when they really severed mankind; it 
is more to be a builder. The philistine I 
have just quoted assumes to be the arbiter 
of religion as well as the oracle of Truth. 
Verily, we have progressed since Pilate's 
day. Here is a man who not only knows 
what Truth is, but is able to recognize her 
outline even when shadowy. Or is he after 
all only a phrase-maker ? 

44 The Mormon Point of View. 

cism, then there is little need of real faith — 
the less indeed the better. Its immaculate 
pastors can, with a long pair of scriptural 
tongs, dip for themes into the turbid stream 
of life, and so escape soiling their white 
hands by contact with men and women still 
of the earth earthy. 

Its votaries, placidly conscious that they 
are already saved, can sit back in cushioned 
pews, while sin is idealized salvation drama- 
tized, and a sense of their own righteousness 
is distilled upon them like dew. The Church 
will thus remain eminently holy and respec- 
table, and will draw to its fold all the I-am- 
holier-than-thou worshipers who can afford 
the luxury. 

True, along with this heaven-tending, se- 
lective culture, there are .likely to grow a 
few incidental evils; such as, artificial 
righteousness, spiritual snobbery, religious 
shams and make-believes, a sniveling, 
psalm-singing cant, and hypocrisy unadul- 
terated ; but then who expects, in this vale 
of tears, to find any garden of holiness 
without a few weeds here and there? 

It is this conception of religion, so widely 
prevalent among Christian sects of today, — 
the fashionable church retaining, to use the 
language of scripture, "the form of Godli- 

The Ministers and the Mormons. 45 

46 The Mormon Point of View. 

ness, but lacking the power thereof," — that 
Elbert Hubbard and his school of icono- 
clasts are inveighing against. Lay on, ye 
philistines ; a ranker sham, a more bediz- 
zened artificiality, does not grow in the field 
of social progress today. 

Religion may next be conceived as a di- 
vine something which is to be integrated or 
interwoven with life; a daily and hourly 
burnisher of the conscience; an unostenta- 
tious something that goes with a man to the 
field, the work shop, or the office, and 
guides through love or restrains through 
fear all the thoughts and acts, great and 
small, which make up the warp and woof of 
his complex life. 

This conception involves, on the one side, 
a fervid, perhaps unreasoning faith in the 
ever-present love of God, or at least of the 
Savior; and on the other, the total deprav- 
ity or essential vileness of human life, in 
and of itself. 

Man is conceived as belonging to an or- 
der of being somewhat above the ants, and 
somewhat below the angels; with power to 
rise, through the medium of religion, into 
the heavenly spheres, but doomed without 
its power, to sink to the depths of hell. 

This conception really represents a stage 

rather than a kind of religion. It represents 
the dogmatic, just as the first conception 
represents the philosophic, stage of almost 
everv sect in Christendom. It is, however, 
uistinctly a factor in the social betterment 
of the race ; as witness the present efforts of 
the Salvation Army. 

The difference between these two concep- 
tions lies in the fact that the first is not only 
itself a holy sham, but a breeder of correla- 
tive social shams — a religion which at best 
"but skins and films the ulcerous places" in 
society ; while the second is an earnest, 
whole-souled effort to probe, cleanse, and 
fill with health the putrescent moral nature 
of man. The defect of both alike lies in the 
fact that they are mere specialized functions 
of life ; seeking to do for the soul by spirit- 
ual unction, what the physician tries to do 
for the body with drop and pill. 



There is still a third conception of the 
right place of religion; not as something 
superimposed upon life, nor as something 
integrated with life, but as life itself — life 
from God's point of view, which is the only 
real, true, eternal life. 

The Ministers and the Mormons. 47 

This is the central thought of Mormon- 
ism. God is conceived as the Father — in a 
very literal sense — of the spirits of all men. 
He must himself therefore be, like Christ, a 
glorified, perfected man. These spirits, 
again like Christ, their elder brother, lived 
a spiritually organized, premortal life, per- 
haps for thousands, perhaps for millions 
of years ; and the ego, the I AM, or princi- 
ple of self-consciousness, never had a be- 

This earth by the Mormon conception, is 
not a pestilent island in the ocean of eter- 
nity, where souls are quarantined for sin, 
as the dismalists among Christians would 
have us believe ; on the contrary, it is a 
world prepared by our Father in heaven for 
the transplanting of his children ; a glorious 
university — the only real university — for 
the development of His sons and daughters. 

These sons and daughters do not belong 
to an order of being lower than that of God 
himself, and are therefore not "totally de- 
praved ;" their so-called deformities of sin 
are, for the most part, merely the deform- 
ities incident to growth and development; 
the deformities of the scaffolding as com- 
pared with the perfected house. 

Sin itself as ordinarily understood is little 

48 The Mormon Point of View. 

else than relative righteousness ; that is to 
say, what would be sin for a higher order 
of intelligence is often virtue for a lower. 
This is not denying, however, that there is 
real sin, recognizable alike in all grades of 
being ; nor that there is a real Devil, capable 
of tempting men to evil. 

From the conception that earth-life is a 
definitely-planned, and very necessary part 
in the eternal education of man, it follows 
that heaven is not some impossible region, 
remote in time and space, to which the soul 
flies at death; heaven is the HERE and 
NOW, and a million years hence in the life 
of the soul, will still be the here and now. 

That is to say, heaven is always a present, 
not a future, state of the soul; and if any 
being would know the extent, — the height, 
depth, and breadth, — of bliss which the uni- 
verse has in store for him at any time, let 
him take stock of how much heavenly beau- 
ty he sees, and feels, and LIVES, in the 
creations immediately around him. 

His future Here and Now will no doubt 
be ineffably enhanced in glory; but only on 
the condition that the beauties and glories 
between the present and the future state 
shall have been progressively seen, and felt, 
and lived ; only on the condition that he pro- 

The Ministers and the Mormons. -±9 

gressively accumulate in himself what Dr. 
Jordan calls the higher heredity. 

Let him not foolishly imagine that he can 
fly from the one state into the other; 
for the farther he would go, either 
backward or forward from the here and 
now of any stage in his progress, the more 
deeply he would sink into hell. 

For what is the essential fact of hell if 
not a state of discord with one's surround- 
ings? Just as heaven represents the up- 
ward, forward, positive point of view — the 
life that seeks law to the end that it may 
come more and more into harmony with 
God ; so hell is the negative, reactionary, re- 
bellious point of view — the life which, op- 
posing itself to the harmony of the universe, 
is in process of being undone. It was with 
profound insight that Goethe made Mephis- 
topheles declare: "I am the spirit that de- 

It follows from such a conception that 
there are as many varying degrees of hell 
as there are of heaven. Our present state 
in fact may be either heaven or hell accord- 
ing to the direction in which the soul's as- 
pirations are pointed. He who says, "Fath- 
er, thy will be done" is in heaven, — as ex- 
quisite a heaven as his soul is capable of, — 

The Ministers and the Mormons. 51 

ous approach of spiritual impotence, as re- 
vealed periodically in actions which more 
and more tend to terminate in empty, use- 
less rage ; to feel one's power slipping away, 
and realize that the time will inevitably 
come when, coupled with an awareness that 
shall know all heights and depths, there will 
be an absolute helplessness to re-act upon 
the universe ; in short, to feel one's self be- 
coming a keenly self-conscious piece of 
drift-wood on the waves of eternity — this it 
is what probably constitutes the supreme 
agony of the damned. 

But in a relative sense, the pains of hell 
evidently result from being out of joint with 
one's environment ; and getting out of joint 
would, as before suggested, result from ar- 
bitrarily moving either forward or back- 
ward from any given point of soul-develop- 
ment. If, for instance, some devout Chris- 
tian, with mechanical ideas of salvation, 
should have his prayer granted and sudden- 
ly be transplanted into the presence of God 
and angels, — supposing that his earthly 
dress could actually withstand a glory in- 
tenser than the atmosphere of the sun, — 
what would he find in this advanced psychic 
universe with which to form soul-corre- 
spondences ? What would he find as food for 


The Mormon Point of View. 

with angels and all the positive forces of the 
universe surrounding him. He who has not 
yet learned to take this mental attitude, is 
groping in neutral shades ; he who denies it, 
is in hell ; for he opposes himself to law, and 
makes all things eternal his enemies. And 
as by obedience to law, he built up all the 
power of his psychic life, so now his opposi- 
tion to law must result in stripping him of 
that power. This latter state is what is 
meant by being damned, — a state in which 
the soul has lost the power to repent and 
come into harmony with God.* 

The tortures of hell can be only approxi- 
mately imagined from the relatively short 
psychic basis of our natural life. Never- 
theless, to feel a growing sense of confusion 
and discord about one ; to realize the insidi- 

•Christ speaks of a sin that Is unpardon- 
able — the sin against the Holy Ghost. Paul in 
speaking of those who "were once enlightened 
and tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made 
partakers of the Holy Ghost, and tasted the 
good word of God and the powers of the world 
to come, and then fell away," declares that it is 
impossible to renew them again unto repent- 
ance. Here then is the unpardonable sin; for, 
manifestly, If a man cannot repent he cannot 
be forgiven. Men in respect of obedience to 
God are like beacon- tires: as long as a spark 
of the divine life remains, it can be kindled 
unto repentance; but suppose it goes out— can 
you rekindle ashes? The sons of perdition are 
merely the ash-heaps of divine fires that have 
gone out. 


The Mormon Point of View. 

interest, delight, or even for comprehen- 
sion in an environment exquisitely poised to 
beings psychically millions of ages perhaps 
ahead of him? Practically he would be in 
hell — the hell of utter barrenness and mo- 

So, on the other hand, were he suddenly 
put back into environments whose elemen- 
tary crudeness once formed delightful soul 
attrition, but whose power to shape and 
modify, and therefore to interest him, he 
has long out-grown, — what would be the 
state of his feelings? Fancy a Mozart or 
Wagner condemned to linger in a plane 
where "Yankee Doodle" and the "Arkan- 
saw Traveler" were among the highest 
types of musical concord! Again he would 
be in hell — this time in the hell of psychic 
nausea and boredom ; than which let no man 
this side of the gulf of the damned fear a 
worse fate. 

Mormonism, it will be thus seen, has 
nothing in it to encourage the delusion of 
those Christians who believe themselves 
already saved, and who, in consequence, 
dally with the present life in listless fashion 
while waiting for the advent of their para- 
dise; Mormonism is pre-eminently the re- 
ligion of present endeavor. — 

The Ministers and the Mormons. 53 

••Trust no future, howe'er pleasant 
Let the dead past bury its dead; 
Act— act in the living present, 
Heart within and God o'erhead." 

He obevs God best who learns most of 
the present world, but in such order and re- 
lation that the link between him and his 
maker becomes daily brighter and strong- 
er ; he is in the highest heaven who sees most 
beauty, feels most harmony, in the creations 
immediately around him. 

Compare, then, with a religion so out- 
lined— a religion vitally inter-related with 
all real things ; indeed, an interpreter of all 
fhings in their relation to the soul,— the 
puerile definition with which the previous 
chapter opened: "Religion— the childish 
mistaking of pictures for facts,— the crass 
materialization of allegory,— the infinite tal- 
ent of man for humbugging himself, — and 
underneath it all, the shadowy outline of 

Verily, some owls hoot — others write. 



To Latter-day Saints, who have been ac- 
customed to looking at the human race as 
exhibiting, while on earth, the essential 

The Ministers and the Mormons. 55 


votion. Now, as there is evidently a natural 
evolution of the tree— into forms represent- 
ing God's ideals, and crowned with lucious 
fruit; so there must evidently be a natural 
evolution of this religious feeling. And as 
a judicious orchardist can, by proper dig- 
ging and pruning, materially assist the un- 
folding and fructivity of the tree, so there 
is manifestly a place for the pastor in the 
natural and spiritual evolution of mankind. 

But note now the alternative: if the or- 
chardist be actuated by artificial ideas, he 
may prune the growing tendency of his 
trees into all sorts of abortive forms — re- 
sembling nothing else in the natural world ; 
— with this penalty, however, that he will 
get no fruit. So also may the religious en- 
thusiast, guided by fantastic interpretations 
of scripture, or the still more erratic con- 
clusions of occult speculation, prune and 
shape the emotional tendencies of his con- 
gregation. May — did I say? — he has, he 
does ; for how else can you account for the 
ten thousand varieties of psychic contortion 
that pass and have passed for religion 
among mankind ? 

That such abortive religions will never 
yield fruits of eternal life — and by such 
fruits I mean increased present power in 

54 The Mormon Point of View. 

present, or time-link in an endless chain of 
divine being, the conclusions reached in the 
preceding chapters will be regarded quite 
as matter of fact; but to the modern Chris- 
tian world, long imbued with the notion that 
mankind is a subsidiary creation.— an order 
of being quite different from and inferior 
to that of God himself,— I can well imagine 
they will seem little short of blasphemous; 
and therefore also that, though they cannot 
be refuted, they will not readily be accepted. 
It seems pertinent therefore to close the 
scries with a chapter based on this point of 
view : Granted that these conclusions are 
false, what follows? What other teleologic- 
al vistas, forward and backward, are left 

to the race? 

As a preliminary, it may be remarked that 
whatever be the nature of those other vistas, 
—however unscientific they may be shown 
to be by comparison— my showing them to 
be so will not materially affect the multipli- 
cation of religions ; for in respect of the 
tenet-creating tendency human beings may 
not unfitly be likened to a thrifty young or- 
chard. The religious feeling is in them 
even as the sap is in the trees,— a sort of 
dumb, emotional potentiality ever seeking 
opportunity to express itself in forms of de- 


The Mormon Point of View. 

the individual: physically, intellectually, so- 
cially, morally, and spiritually— is best 
proved by the fact that they generally post- 
pone such fruits to a hypothetical future ; 
whereas, it is next thing to a truism that 
the religion which does not yield its rewards 
in the heaven of the Here and Now, will 
never — because it can never — yield them in 

What then is the remedy for abortive re- 
ligion-making? Precisely the same as that 
which we have already applied to abortive 
tree-culture. That remedy is to let nature 
alone, — which involves finding out what is 
nature, and then removing all artificial ob- 
structions, so that she may be alone. Are 
men less subject to natural law than trees? 
Do we prune and shape a growing tree by 
the speculations of seers and mahatmas — or 
the vagaries of Christian Science ? Then, in 
God's name, let us cease ignoring the laws 
of nature which constitute man's physical 
and spiritual environment: cease calling 
phenomena illusions — cease to go whoring 
after phantasmal "realities." 

For if anything is fixed and certain it is 
this : that he who rises above his present en- 
vironment — his present sum-total of im- 
pinging phenomena, if you please — is pre- 

The Ministers and the Mormons. 57 

58 The Mormon Point of View. 

pared for a higher, nobler sphere, — a sphere 
more difficult and therefore more full of 
truth-surprises ; and the evidence is this, 
that his power of bliss is within him, not 
stored away in a hypothetical heaven. And 
he who lets present environment rise above 
him, must inevitably sink to a lower, cruder, 
more monotonous level; and the evidence is 
this, that his weakness or damnation is with- 
in him, not locked up in some hypothetical 

Mormonism in taking such a stand mere- 
ly voices what seems obviously the princi- 
ples of common sense. They are, in fact, 
the principles which must underlie the ap- 
plication of scientific thinking to matters re- 
ligious. If such thinking were made the 
criterion of religious truth — as it is of every 
other form of truth, — how, like punctured 
wind-bags, would the swelling spiritual 
"isms" of the day fall flat over the face of 
the earth ! 

To have weight or effect, however, such 
thinking would have to be applied by the 
religion-makers themselves, scientists being 
regarded as the natural enemies of religion. 
But if religious leaders were fitted by scien- 
tific training for such thinking, there would 
be no gas-blown theories of salvation to 

The Ministers and the Mormons. 59 

attacks, the domain of religious belief is 
postulated as being a vague, spiritual coun- 
try beyond the territory of reason; whose 
methods of cultivation are so diverse from 
those of the intellect, that they present no 
analogies even, let alone examples of com- 
mon ground. It is difficult to see how the 
conditions of spiritual gullibility could well 
be improved beyond this. 



When we consider the nature of the ulti- 
mate facts which Christian religionists seek 
to maintain, there is small wonder that they 
are driven to such dilemmas as those set 
forth in the last chapter. The God they 
postulate is so unlike any concept of ex- 
perience that, by their own confession, he 
transcends all analogy. Indeed, "A God 
understood is a God dethroned," has long 
stood for a truism among them. 

Nevertheless, they are driven, perforce, 
to make this primal Mystery act, since the 
world is to be created and peopled, and re- 
ligion must somehow come to bless man- 
kind; accordingly, they postulate subaltern 
mysteries one after another; such as, that 

puncture. Men would have recognized 
long ago the natural connection between 
this world of ours with its varied phenom- 
ena and the education of the human soul for 
eternal life. 

It will thus be found that religions of the 
unscientific kind have no teleological vistas 
either of the past or of the future ; merely a 
precipitous starting point, creation, with no 
indication of how or why, a more or less 
artificial earth-life, in which the supreme 
good seems to be to get as little entangled 
with things earthy as possible, and lastly a 
final jump-off — into heaven or hell. 

As to the significance of these final states, 
we get little more of rational perspective 
than is contained in the child's "good-place" 
and "bad-place." True, of heaven and hell 
word-painting, designed to dazzle or ter- 
rorize the sinner, we have lurid examples 
enough in the sermons of revivalism; but 
the moment they are subjected to three con- 
secutive scientific questions, they shrivel and 
fade into what they are — mere reckless pro- 
ducts of imagination gone mad. 

And it is for this reason, no doubt, that 
the religions of the day deny the right of 
science to question them; and in order that 
religion-makers may be quite free from its 


The Mormon Point of View. 

the earth was made out of nothing; that 
man's soul is the breath of Deity ; that the 
transition between the natural and the spir- 
itual world is abysmal; that man is saved 
solely by the merits of Jesus, without refer- 
ence to works ; that heaven is so unlike earth 
that we can form no conception of it; and 
so on through all the vague categories of 
modern Christianity. 

As is their conception of God, so of a 
piece are all its corollaries; with the result 
that religion has become a ghostly creature 
compelled to lurk only in those dark cor- 
ners where the light of science cannot pene- 
trate, and its priests a body of soothsayers 
afraid to speak with authority, save on mat- 
ters beyond the province of verification; or 
else a system of belief demanding constant 
soul stultification on the part of its adher- 
ents: the holding of opposite views in 
science and religion, and justifying the con- 
tradiction on the thin assumption that the 
two planes of being are different. 

Contrast with all this vacuity the positive- 
ness of Mormonism, and the logical inevit- 
ableness of its doctrines. Instead of the 
mechanical cosmogony of sectarianism, op- 
posed alike to science and reason, trace 
through the scheme of salvation, as taught 

The Ministers and the Mormons, til 

G2 The Mormon Point of View. 

by Latter-day Saints, that same golden 
thread of truth which has unified the re- 
searches of science, — the principle of evolu- 
tion, or as we call it, the principle of eternal 
progress ; not evolution drifting along the 
line of least resistance, but evolution di- 
rected at every step by creative intelligence. 

Finally, remember that this religion, the 
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 
was the one and only religion in all the 
world denied representation in the World's 
Congress of religions during the late Chica- 
go Fair. Was it not a unique, an enviable 
distinction to have thrust upon us? 

Christ spoke of a certain rock which had 
been rejected by all the builders, but which 
nevertheless became the chief corner-stone. 
Can you blame the Mormons for the unal- 
terable conviction that in the restoration, 
through Joseph Smith, of the Gospel of 
Jesus Christ in its pristine purity and with 
all its keys and powers, including authority 
to officiate in his name, God is fulfilling 
anew that very striking prediction ? 

And sneaking of the builders who reject- 
ed that stone brings me to a consideration 
again of the occasion which led to the writ- 
ing of this booklet, — the concerted move- 
ments of various ministerial bodies, fol- 

The Ministers and the Mormons. 63 

ters in general: only against the tribe that 
conceive it to be evidence of holiness to at- 
tack and vilify the Mormons. May God 
still give me charity to remember that they 
are my brethren ! 

The limits of this booklet preclude the 
further development of a theme which 
opens with surprising interest in almost ev- 
ery direction of human thought; but enough 
has perhaps been said to give kindly dis- 
posed people a criterion for measuring this 
new interpretation of the religion of Jesus 
Christ which we Mormons fervently believe 
has come to bless mankind ; enough also, let 
me hope, to show that Mormonism and 
polygamy are separate things: or if they 
have been related (by practice) in the past 
and are related (by belief) at present, the 
relation has been and is that of a tree and 
a single leaf on the tree. Mormonism in- 
volves in its reach the whole universe; po- 
lygamy, even when most widely practiced, 
involved only three per cent of the Latter- 
day Saints, — themselves a mere handful of 

To the reader who is interested in the 
general views here set forth and who desires 
to investigate more specifically, the author 
takes this occasion of announcing a new 

lowing in the wake of the Presbyterian Gen- 
eral Assembly North, with a view to "crush- 
ing" Mormonism. 

I trust I have given these zealous imi- 
tators ( !) of Christ some rational idea of 
the real work before them. I hope they 
will realize that the mud-slinging they have 
indulged in during the past — the Danite 
canards, the Mountain Meadow horror (de- 
plored as much by Mormons as by Gen- 
tiles), and the charges of "Mormon ignor- 
ance and immorality — will not suffice to aid 
them with any candid reader of these pages : 
they must meet the truths and arguments 
here set forth, or go back to their wooden 
creeds defeated. 

Will they attempt it? No. Judged by 
their past record, they will appeal again to 
the refuge of lies ; they will cull some frag- 
ments from this treatise which lend them- 
selves to distortion and misrepresentation. 
These, taken from the context, they will 
overthrow and cover with ridicule, and then 
pose as champions. To paraphrase Dr. 
Johnson's famous saying, as the only utter- 
ance that promises my feelings any relief: 
"Holiness is often the last refuge of the 
scoundrel !" 

I do not speak thus bitterly against minis- 

G+ The Mormon Point of View. 


book (now in press) entitled "Scientific 
Aspect of Mormonism," also a companion 
volume (now being written) entitled "So- 
cial Aspect of Mormonism." In these vol- 
umes religion in general and Mormonism in 
particular, are considered more at length in 
their relation to the scientific thought of the 



In conclusion, let me quote again the Rev. 
Charles Thompson's brave ( 1) words before 
the Presbyterian general assembly at Los 
Angeles, May 26, 1903 : "It [the Mormon 
Church] is not to be educated, not to be civ- 
ilized, not to be reformed — it must be 
crushed. No other organization is so per- 
fect as the Mormon Church, except the 
German Army." 

The newspaper account of this meeting 
sets forth that no other proceedings of the 
conference received such vociferous ap- 
plause as did Rev. Thompson's denunciation 
of Mormonism — a statement not difficult to 
believe, since the synod took definite action 
as a body against the Mormon people and 
religion. Be this as it may, let us analyze 

The Ministers and the Mormons. 65 


The Mormon Point of View. 

the above sample of fervid, anti-Mormon 

In the first place, when the reverend gen- 
tleman admits in one breath the faultless or- 
ganization of the Mormon Church, and urg- 
es in another that it must be crushed, is he 
not guilty of very cheap rhetoric — not to 
say thinly disguised bathos? Is it not like 
saying, "The Mormon Church being per- 
fect in its organization, is uncrushable — 
therefore it must be crushed !" 

In the next place, his intemperate words 
arouse the query: "If Mormonism is so 
perfect in its organization, what has made it 
perfect?" The German army, as every one 
knows, is held together by the iron hand of 
coercion; but what is the source of Mor- 
mon cohesion ? It cannot be fear, for every 
member enjoys the same freedom .to enter, 
or leave the Church, that is enjoyed by 
members of other churches. Nor is it super- 
stition, as the swift glimpse of Mormonism 
afforded by the foregoing pages must testi- 
fy. Unlike other religions, Mormonism 
calls upon no one to swallow that which 
stultifies his reason. Nor is it ignorance — 
Mormonism from its first inception has 
waged a perpetual campaign against spirit- 
ual darkness and superstition. Indeed, "No 

The Ministers and the Mormons. 67 

the theological seminary, with their up- 
ward-rolling eyes and teary voices, their 
ultra-specialized training and consequent 
narrow notions of religion as something 
connected with chapel services, — how could 
they be expected to estimate justly a relig- 
ion which involves the sum total of man's 
ideas and activities ; how appreciate the re- 
sultant social system, which is a more vital 
departure from the artificial holiness that, 
like the love-weed in our alfalfa, is blighting 
the healthy naturalism of our time, — than 
was the departure of science from the cos- 
mogony of the Middle ages? 

How, with the bias of the seminary upon 
them, can they feel anything like Christian 
charity for a religion which figures neither 
as a divine gilding upon life, nor as a divine 
influx into life, but as a transplanting of di- 
vine life itself upon this planet; which aims 
to sanctify and make holy every needful ac- 
tivity of man, and counts law wherever 
found, whether in nature or in revelation, as 
equally the voice of the living God? 

How, with their prim notions of minis- 
terial broad-cloth and immaculate shirt- 
bosoms, can they keep down a feeling of 
contempt for the Elder that plows and sows, 
the Seventy that shoes horses, the High. 

man can be saved in ignorance," and "A 
man is saved no faster than he gains intel- 
ligence," — are household aphorisms with us. 

We are thus driven to the only answer 
left: the inevitableness of Mormon organ- 
ization, results directly from the inevitable- 
ness of Mormon doctrines. The cohesion 
of Mormonism is nothing else than the co- 
hesion of truth in precept cleaving collect- 
ively unto truth in example, — precisely as 
we should expect, and as any one may know 
who will earnestly and prayerfully investi- 
gate its claims. 

Mormonism presents to the world a new 
point of view for studying the meaning of 
life ; a point of view so marvelous in its 
reach that it encompasses and ties together 
in one vast, rational unity all the truths 
known to the race. 

But curiously enough, the ministers that 
come among us are the last people on earth 
who are willing or able to appreciate this 
point of view. Such has been the nature of 
their education for the ministry that Mor- 
monism offends them at every point. "Eg- 
gregious materialism!" they exclaim. It is 
the only relief they can find for their offend- 
ed sense of ministerial dignity. 

Poor stuffed and starched automatons of 


The Mormon Point of View. 

Priest that plasters your house, the Apostle 
that superintends a factory or presides over 
a bank, — for a body of ministers, in short 
—comprising almost the total male mem- 
bership of the church — that do during week 
days whatever the exigencies of life call 
upon them to do, and preach if need be on 
Sundays ? 

Even in the narrow field affected by these 
ministers — that of spiritual matters — Mor- 
monism presents a depth and richness of 
soil that would bring a harvest to their 
starving congregations, could they but get 
away from their hackneyed texts and com- 
mentaries long enough to dig into it. As it 
is, what have they to offer in lieu of the sys- 
tem they would crush? With what princi- 
ples do they purpose to "reform, educate, 
and civilize" us? 

It is conceivable that not all of these min- 
isters have joined the Presbyterians in the 
crushing crusade ; that some are in fact still 
intent upon our conversion by peaceable 
means. In order that these may be fore- 
armed, and so know how to approach us, I 
purpose confiding to them some prejudices 
of the thoughtful, intelligent Mormon, who 
is acquainted with the deeper principles of 
his own faith, and also with what may be 

The Ministers and the Mormons. b'9 

70 The Mormon Point of View. 

gained of theirs from a study of their con- 
fesssions of faith.* 

Well, then, to improvise an allegory, his 
own religion presents to him the aspect of a 
vigorous young tree; diversified in form 
and function, yet still bearing the stamp of 
a perfect unity; branch, and twig, and leaf, 
and flower, and fruit, each growing organ- 
ically out of a greater something preceding ; 
the whole filled and made alive by a mys- 
terious power which is constantly sending 
its roots more deeply into the spiritual 
world, only to extend its beneficent sway 
more widely in the natural world. 

Theirs — the religions of his would-be re- 
formers — do not present to him the unity of 
even an artificial tree. They seem rather to 
be things wooden, built from timber cut for 
the most part during the dark ages, and 
nailed together — literally nailed — by the 
decrees of ecclesiastical councils. How some 

•I am fully aware, however, that such 
creeds are not a just criterion of the best work 
being done by ministers of the gospel. Indeed, 
where men are really helping to shape the social 
destiny of the race, the chances are ten to one 
that they have overthrown their creeds and are 
drawing their inspiration from the scientific 
thought of the age. For such men I have the 
greatest reverence, and feel sure they will not 
take to themselves what I have said against the 
narrow, bigoted preachers that make so much 
fuss about reforming Latter-day Saints. 

The Ministers and the Mormons. 71 

deserting to the campaign of the Presbyter- 
ian general assembly north? Have we not 
numerous examples of the facility with 
which sectaries unite when the object of at- 
tack is Mormonism? 

Seriously, what is this crushing business 
to signify? Is the attack to be scriptural? 
It dare not be — these ministers know that 
too well from past experience. Educational ? 
Equally impossible; Mormonism challenges 
comparison with the world. Political? Per- 
haps. But how shallow is the study of 
Mormonism which concludes that it can be 
swerved from its ideals by mere politcal cir- 
cumvention ! When the Hon. B. H. Roberts 
was refused his seat in the House of Repre- 
sentatives, the average minister no doubt 
rubbed his hands and chuckled at the crush- 
ing ( !) blow that had been dealt to Mor- 
monism. What a piece of inane fatuity ! 
It affected the health of the "octopus" no 
more than would the plucking of a leaf af- 
fect a tree. Nor will the unseating of Sen- 
ator Smoot do more, should these ministers 
succeed in their program. The real injury 
in sucli a case would be to the liberty and 
integrity of our beloved country. 

But perhaps these holy men are dreaming 
of something more drastic ; to which, in- 

of these doctrines have hung to the rest of 
the illogical ensemble, during the enlighten- 
ment of the nineteenth century, is matter 
for wonder; as for instance, the doctrine of 
the creation of the world from nothing, of 
the predestination of man to heaven or hell, 
and of the damnation of unbaptized infants. * 

I have said that such are the relative as- 
pects of his own, as compared with other re- 
ligions, to the thoughtful, philosophical 
Mormon ; but the effect is precisely the same 
with the Mormon who never reasons back 
to final causes ; for in his dumb way he still 
feels, by a kind of blanket intuition, the liv- 
ing unity and essential rationality of the 
one, and the artificiality and ineffectiveness 
of the other. 

Having pleaded guilty for myself and 
my co-religionists to which definitely biased 
state of mind, I dare say I have done the 
worst thing possible, for our future peace 
and well-being ; for what shall now restrain 
the rest of the body ministerial from giving 
up their angelic intentions toward us, and 

tit is gratifying to know that the same 
Presbyterian General Assembly which resolved 
to open the crusade on the Mormons also pulled 
out from their creed the rusty nail represented 
by the last named doctrine. The other two, 
however, remain. 

72 The Mormon Point of View. 

deed, political hindrances might be made a 
prelude. Perhaps disfranchisement, confis- 
cation, expulsion, mob-violence, bayonets, 
wholesale massacres, — are among the re- 
sponses they get to their pious prayers in 
our behalf! 

Well, if crushing is in the womb of time 
for us, let it come. We are ready to a man 
to die, if need be, for our convictions. But 
let our persecutors not imagine that Mor- 
monism would suffer. Individually we 
should merely transfer our efforts for man- 
kind to the Church of the First Born in the 
spirit world — for this life is not the only 
sphere where the work of salvation is being 
carried on — and the very ranks of our ene- 
mies might be trusted for recruits to take 
our places here. 

However, before they start this new cru- 
sade for the glory of God( !), let me com- 
mend to them the advice of one Gamaliel, a 
wise man in his day: "Refrain from these 
men and let them alone: for if this counsel, 
or this work, be of men, it will come to 
naught ; but if it be of God, ye cannot over- 
throw it, — lest haply ye be found even to 
fight against God." 

74 The Mormon Point of View. 


It would be impossible, in the brief space 
at my command, to set down even a naked 
catalogue of the slanders that have been in- 
vented against the Mormons ; only those 
will be noticed, therefore, which are pivotal 
and far-reaching. Why these moral fungi 
— these plants of the night — should be so 
prolific in an age of enlightenment and tol- 
erance, is explicable only on the theory of 
atavism — the recurrence of moral diseases 
to which our ancestors were subject when 
darkness and hatred ruled the world. Why 
the poison of them should be directed 
against Mormonism, is best explained per- 
haps on the theory that men have ceased to 
believe actively in the existence of the devil, 
and so have been compelled to hit upon 
some substitute, out of sheer need to give 
air to a smothering sense of damnation 
within them. 

Nor is this unburdening of evil confined 
to the ignorant and vulgar. It breaks out 
'neath the garb of culture, refinement, and 
benevolence. Given a situation in which a 
man's veracity will not be questioned, no 
matter what he says, and what mere, mortal 

will resist the temptation to ease himself of 
a generic virus of hate subconsciously act- 
ive in him? Even angels in human guise 
often find relief from the pressure of their 
holiness, by stopping occasionally between 
their devotions to sprout a falsehood or two 
against the Mormons. Indeed, — 

"Some books are lies frae end to end, 

And some great lies hae ne'er been penned 

E'en ministers, they hae been kenned, 

Wi' holy rapture — 

At times a rousin' whid to vend. 

And nail't wi' scripture." 

Nor is it difficult to understand why 
these same books have such a tremendous 
vogue; especially in the light of the scrip- 
tural explanation that "he who maketh also 
loveth a lie." The man or woman whose 
ancestral devilishness remains unsatisfied 
from lack of brilliancy in themselves to in- 
vent a slander, will generally be looking for 
a compilation of the inventions of others; 
for be the craving active or passive, it gives 
a sense of deep satisfaction to nine men out 
of ten to feel that there are beings living 
whom it is fashionable heartily to vilify. 
The Mormons are carrying now only a 
fraction of what the devil was gratuitously 
loaded with three quarters of a century ago. 

The Dictionary of Slander. 75 


Before me lies a volume admirably de- 
scribed in the lines above-quoted ; and yet it 
is quite unlike the widely circulated crop of 
its predecessors. These sensational "Expos- 
ures" always made an appeal, more or less, 
to maudlin sentimentality ; picturing the 
Mormons in colors quite lurid enough to 
satisfy the atavistic desires for the old time 
Presbyterian sermon concerning hell and its 
inhabitants. This, on the contrary, assumes 
the judicial tone. "No chapter in American 
history," says the preface," has remained so 
long unwritten as that which tells the story 
of the Mormons. * * * The object of 
the present work is to present a consecutive 
history from the day of their origin to the 
present writing, and as a secular, not as a 
religious, narrative. The search has been 
for facts, not for moral deductions, except 
as these present themselves in the course of 
the story." 

Such is the way in which the author* 
seeks to inspire confidence in the reader. 
Never was fair promise more completely be- 
lied by foul performance. He has not pro- 
ceeded ten pages until you are aware of the 

•William Alexander Linn, "The Story of the 

76 The Mormon Point of View. 

settled conviction guiding his pen ; viz., that 
Mormonism is the most collossal fraud of 
modern times, and that consequently the 
facts he is looking for are those only which 
will sustain this hypothesis. You know on 
the start that let the truth be what it may, 
he is going to steer this hypothesis through ; 
if in the direction of facts, well and good ; if 
not, then in the teeth of facts, — yet still by 
a cunning manipulation of facts. 

"The cynic," says Beecher, "is one who 
never sees a good quality in a man, and 
never fails to see a bad one. He is the hu- 
man owl ; vigilant in darkness, but blind to 
light; mousing for vermin, but never see- 
ing noble game." If Mr. Linn ever saw a 
good quality in a Mormon or in Mormon- 
ism, he does not betray the fact by a single 
line, nor by a single epithet. Not once does 
he relent toward the charitable view of a 
transaction. From preface to index the 
sustaining motive is hate — a hard, dull, bit- 
terness of hate, which, for six hundred octa- 
vo pages, does not once thaw out — not even 
on the southern slope of facts. And this, 
too, while apparently the sun of fairness is 
shining ! Surely we have here the very geni- 
us of cynicism. 

What his method is, — the cunning of it 

The Dictionary of Slander. 77 78 The Mormon Point of View. 

all,— we shall have occasion to know as this 
dictionary of slander proceeds. Here it is 
pertinent to remark that never was tangle- 
foot paper gummed to catch flies with half 
the artful ingenuity that this matrix of hate 
is made to attract and embalm the winged 
falsehoods against Mormonism. They are 
all here,— old lies, decrepit lies, lurid lies, 
smutty lies, transparent lies, all are here, — 
newly dressed and respectable-looking; not 
in haphazard order either, but marshalled 
according to their devilish rank. Surely 
there must be rejoicing in the nether re- 
gions that creations such as these are enjoy- 
ing just now an ephemeral reign of respect- 


Of course Mr. Linn, like all other traduc- 
ers of Mormonism, has conceived it neces- 
sary to prepare a background for the pic- 
ture of Mormonism that he is getting ready 
to paint. All vestiges of honorable charac- 
ter must be taken from its founders. In fol- 
lowing him I shall, however, omit the insid- 
ious preparation of suggestion and inuendo 
whereby he gets his readers ready to swal- 
low the slanders against the Smith family ; 
I shall give at once the passages he relies 
upon to blacken their character. 

"At this period in the life and career of 
Joseph Smith. Jr., or Joe Smith, as he was uni- 
versally named, and the Smith family, they were 
popularly regarded as an illiterate, whiskey- 
drinking, shiftless, irreligious race of people — 
the first named, the chief subject of this biog- 
raphy, being unanimously voted the laziest 
and most worthless of the generation. From 
the age of twelve to twenty years he is distinct- 
ly remembered as a dull-eyed, flaxen -haired, 
prevaricating boy — noted only for his indolent 
and vagabondish character, and his habits of 
exaggeration and untruthfulness." 

This is the opinion of one Pomeroy Tuck- 
er, a rabid anti-Mormon, who wrote an "ex- 
posure" entitled "Origin, Rise, and Prog- 
ress of Mormonism." Incidentally it is an 
illustration of how Mr. Linn's "Search was 
for facts ( !) not for moral deductions." 
Then he quotes the following affidavit 
signed by eleven of the most prominent ( !) 
citizens of Manchester, New York: 

"We, the undersigned, being personally ac- 
quainted with the family of Joseph Smith, Sr., 
with whom the Gold Bible, so called, originated, 
state: That they were not only a lazy, indo- 
lent set of men, but also intemperate, and their 
word was not to be depended upon; and that we 
are truly glad to dispense with their society." 

This was collected by D. P. Hurlbut, alias 
Howe, who wrote another "exposure" called 
"Mormonism Unveiled." Mr. Linn pro- 

The Dictionary of Slander. 



The Mormon Point of View. 

ceeds to quote two other affidavits from the 
same veracious ( !) source; one of which 
betrays the cloven hoof by closing so: 
"Joseph Smith Sr., and Joseph Smith Jr., 
were in particular, considered entirely desti- 
tute of moral character, and addicted to 
vicious habits." Of course; the origin of 
Mormonism had most to do with these two. 
It was sufficient to spatter the rest of the 
family with mud, — these two must be cov- 
ered from head to foot! How cheap and 
vulgar do Mr. Linn's "facts" become, when 
not preceded by Mr. Linn's rhetoric! 

These slanders are so palpably malicious 
that they refute themselves. As to the 
charge of indolence and laziness, Mr. Linn 
himself unwittingly furnishes the refuta- 
tion. On page n, he says — quite as if the 
facts were damaging: "There [at Palmyra] 
the father displayed a sign 'Cake and Beer 
Shop,' selling gingerbread, pies, boiled 
eggs, root beer, and other like notions, and 
he and his sons did odd jobs, gardening, 
harvesting, and well digging, when they 
could get them. They were very poor and 
Mrs. Smith added to their income by paint- 
ing oil-cloth table covers. * * * Thfy 
sold cord-wood, vegetables, brooms of their 
own manufacture, and maple sugar." Be- 

sides which he mentions that they were 
farming a piece of land two miles south of 
the village on which they had built them- 
selves "a little log house with two rooms on 
the ground floor and two in the attic which 
sheltered them all." 

Let the reader carefully examine this 
catalogue of things. Does it not look as 
if every one did something towards the 
maintenance of the family, and were busy, 
moreover, both in season and out? It is 
strong evidence of thrift rather than of in- 
dolence. They were poor of course; but 
since when has it been a crime to be poor? 

As to intemprance and dishonesty, these 
vices do not go along with thrift and indus- 
try. Such charges are purely the mouth- 
ings of hate. Joseph Smith had dared to 
say that the Gospel of Jesus Christ was re- 
stored through him in all its purity. That 
fact itself condemned their religions as 
man-made. We need go no further to ac- 
count for the hatred and bigotry, which 
sought a cowardly revenge in slander. "The 
cry of 'False prophet! False prophet!' was 
sounded from village to village," said Mr. 
Reid, referring to the first mobbing of Jo- 
seph Smith, a few days after the organiza- 
tion of the Church in 1830; "and every foul 

The Dictionary of Slander. 81 

82 The Mormon Point of View. 

epithet that malice could invent was heaped 
upon him."* 

The culmination of this mob spirit was a 
trial in South Bainbridge which attracted 
the attention of the whole of Chenango 
County. Here these enemies of the youth- 
ful Prophet concentrated the venom of their 
hatred in a vain endeavor to fix some charge 
of evil upon him. "Not one blemish or spot 
was found against his character," continues 
Mr. Reid. "He came from that trial, not- 
withstanding the mighty efforts that were 
made to convict him of crime by his vigilant 
persecutors, with his character unstained by 
even the appearance of guilt." 

Nevertheless, the moment he was acquit- 
ted he was re-arrested and taken to Coles- 
ville, Broome County, where the miserable 
farce was repeated with similar results. 
Here is an example of the nature of those 
prosecutions : 

"Did not the prisoner Joseph Smith, have a 
horse of you?"— "Yes," said the witness, Mr. 
Josiah Stoal. — "Did not he go to you and tell 
you that an angel had appeared unto him and 
authorized him to get the horse from you?" 

•Roberts' History of the Church, p. 95. Mr. 
Reid was not a member of the Church, but a 
gentleman who was present and witnessed the 
things of which he spoke. 

The Dictionary of Slander. 


which it may be replied that his most inti- 
mate acquaintances — those from whom it 
would have been impossible to hide a fraud 
— his father and mother, his nine brothers 
and sisters, and many of his immediate 
neighbors, did so accept him. Explain this 
if you can, on any other theory than the 
conviction of absolute sincerity ; and try to 
make the fact square with the charges of 
dishonesty, laziness, intemperance ! 

Then follow the life of the Prophet's fath-' 
er during the next ten years ; see him a hum- 
ble missionary traveling thousands of miles 
afoot without purse or scrip; suffering im- 
prisonment ; fleeing from mobs in the dead 
of winter ; growing ever more venerable 
and beloved, until thousands came to ask a 
blessing at his hands ; dying finally in the 
absolute conviction that the new dispensa- 
tion of the Gospel revealed by his son, was 
from God ; — read all this, and see if you can 
believe the foul words with which Mr. Linn 
would besmirch his character! 

"The exposure he suffered brought on con- 
sumption, of which he died September 14, 1840. 
aged 69 years, two months, and two days. He 
was six feet two inches high, was very straight, 
and remarkably well proportioned. His ordin- 
ary weight was about two hundred pounds, and 
he was very strong and active. In his young 

"No, he told me no such story." — "Well, how 
had he the horse of you?" — "He bought him of 
me as any oth>2r man would." — "Have you had 
your pay?" — "That is not your business." — The 
question being put again, the witness replied: 
"I hold his note for the price of the horse, which 
I consider as good as the pay; for I am well ac- 
quainted with Joseph Smith, Jr., and know him 
to be an honest man; and if he wishes, I am 
ready to let him have another horse on the same 
terms." — Mr. Jonathan Thompson was next 
called up and examined: "Has not the prisoner, 
Joseph Smith, Jr., had a yoke of oxen of you?" 
— "Yes." — "Did he not obtain them of you by 
telling you that he had a revelation to the effect 
that he was to have them?" — "No, he did not 
mention a word of the kind concerning the 
oxen; he purchased them the same as any other 
man would." 

Is it likely that people twice baffled in at- 
tempting to fix odium upon the Prophet's 
character in a court of justice, would hesi- 
tate to furnish such biased garbage-hunters 
as Tucker and Hurlbut above-quoted with 
anything — anything — they might wish, to 
make their "exposures" telling? 

The absolute disproof of these charges is 
found in the after life of these men. "The 
preposterousness," sneers Mr. Linn, "-of the 
claims of such a fellow as Smith to prophet- 
ic powers and divinely revealed information 
were so apparent to his local acquaintances 
that they gave him little attention." To 

8-1 The Mormon Point of View. 

days he was famed as a wrestler, and. Jacob- 
like, he never wrestled with but one man whom 
he could not throw. He was one of the most 
benevolent of men, opening his house to all who 
were destitute. While at Quincy, Illinois, he 
fed hundreds of the poor Saints who were fly- 
ing from the Missouri persecutions, although he 
had arrived there penniless himself." 

And this was the man whom Mr. Linn 
consents to class among an "illiterate, whis- 
key-drinking, shiftless, irreligious race of 
people!" And since he especially singles 
out the one son Joseph for reprobation with 
the father, as a "dull-eyed, flaxen-haired, 
prevaricating boy — noted only for his indo- 
lent and vagabondish character — " let me 
set before the reader another picture, for 
the truth of which his whole life after he 
became a marked man, is the voucher. It 
is from the pen of George Q. Cannon : 

"In the days of Joseph, to appear like a 
Prophet a man should, according to the popular 
idea, wear a long beard, long hair, and dress In 
an outlandish style. If he did not wash him- 
self and clean and pare his nails, it would be 
all the better. He should not smile and be 
merry. When he spoke, his voice should be 
deep and solemn; when he walked, his tread 
should be slow and measured. If he lived in a 
cave, it would suit many people better than if 
he lived in a house. He should be different from 
other men In every respect. 

Of course those who had these ideas of 

The Dictionary of Slander. 



The Mormon Point of Viezu. 

what a Prophet should be, were much disap- 
pointed in Joseph; for if a Prophet should talk, 
dress, and act in this manner, he was very un- 
like one. He wore no beard, did not have long 
hair, and was very cleanly in his person: he 
dressed with taste, had a pleasant face, a sweet 
smile, a cheerful and joyous manner, and was 
natural. He was the very opposite of what a 
religious bigot would think a Prophet ought to 
be; and he never took any pains to be other- 

He was a great hater of sham. He disliked 
long-faced hypocrisy, and numerous stories are 
told of his peculiar manner of rebuking it. He 
knew that what many people called sin is not 
sin. and he did many things to break down 
superstition. He would wrestle, play ball, and 
enjov himself in physical exercises, and he 
knew that he was not committing sin in so do- 
ing. The religion of heaven is not to make men 
sorrowful, not to curtail their enjoyment, and 
to make them groan, and sigh, and wear long 
faces, but to make them happy. This Joseph 
desired to teach the people; but in doing so, he, 
like our Savior, when he was on the earth, was 
a stumbling-block to bigots and hypocrites. 
They could not understand him; he shocked 
their prejudices and traditions." 



The purpose of reviving this old slander 
is ostensibly two- fold : to support the previ- 
ous characterization of the Prophet, and at 
the same time prepare a back-ground to dis- 
credit his explanation of the coming forth 
of the Book of Mormon. Mr. Linn starts out 

by asserting that "the elder Smith was a 
money-digger while in Vermont"* and pro- 
ceeds to build up a plausible story — from 
matter in the afore-mentioned "exposures" 
by Howe and Tucker— to the effect that 
"Joe" Smith became widely famed as a 
"gazer" into a stone and was often em- 
ployed by people whom he duped by his pre- 
tensions. Finally Mr. Linn believes the 
reader sufficiently prepared for this whop- 

"For pay they offered to disclose by means 
of it the location of stolen property and of bur- 
ied money. There seemed to be no limit to the 
exaggration of their professions. They would 
point o'Jt the precise spot beneath which lay 
kegs, barrels and even hogsheads of gold and 
silver in the shape of coin, bars, images, can- 
dlesticks, etc., and they even asserted that all 
the hills thereabout were the work of human 
hands, and that Joe, by using his "peek-stone," 
could see the caverns beneath them. • • • 
A Palmyra man, for instance, paid seventy-five, 
cents to be sent on a fool's errand to look for 
some stolen cloth." 

•This on the gratuitous assertion of "Judge" 
Daniel Woodward sixty years afterwards, who 
said that Smith hunted for Capt. Kidd's treas- 
ure. As a hundred thousand people have hunt- 
ed for this buried scat, the invention lacks orig- 
inality; and as the Smiths lived some hundreds 
of miles from the nearest point Capt. Kidd 
probably ever touched, the slander is stupid and 
senseless, as well. It is safe to float such stories 
only against a Mormon — and the devil." 

The Dictionary of Slander. 



The Mormon Point of View. 

The juxta-position of the two assertions 
that Smith claimed to be able to see "kegs 
and barrels of gold and silver" and that 
other of his accepting seventy-five cents to 
spy out a piece of stolen cloth, is staggering. 
How Mr. Linn could so presuir.c upon the 
absence of common sense in his readers, is 
explicable only when we remember the mo- 
mentum of hate which carried him on. Does 
he really expect any sane man to believe 
this story? Or even this choice bit of ro- 
mance, which immediately follows: — 

"Certain ceremonies were always connect- 
ed with these money-digging operations. Mid- 
night was the favorite hour, a full moon was 
helpful, and Good Friday was the best date. 
Joe would sometimes stand by, directing the 
digging with a wand. The utmost silence was 
necessary to success. More than once, when the 
digging proved a failure, Joe explained to his 
associates that, just as the deposit was about to 
be reached, some one, tempted by the devil, 
spoke, causing the wlshed-for riches to disap- 

What then is the probable fact of the mat- 
ter? That Joseph may have been caught 
intermittently by the prospecting fever, in 
common with hundreds of others, is possi- 
ble — especially when one remembers how 
that craze sometimes attacks whole towns 
in the west ; but that he made a business of 

it, is disproved no less by the record of oth- 
er work that claimed him during the years 
prior to 1827, than by the fact that not once 
is he accused, even by his vilest traducers, 
of treasure-hunting since then. We must 
therefore believe that his detractors deliber- 
ately loaded on his memory the sins — both 
as respects fact and invention— of a whole 
community. Here is the Prophet's own ex- 
planation ; I am willing to trust the reader's 
intuition as to its truth : 

"In the month of October, 1825, I hired with 
an old gentleman by the name of Josiah Stoal, 
who lived in Chenango County, State of New 
York. He had heard something of a silver mine 
having been opened by the Spaniards in Har- 
mony, Susquehanna County, State of Pennsyl- 
vania, and had previous to my hiring with him, 
been digging in order, if possible, to discover the 
mine. After I went to live with him he took me, 
among the rest of his hands, to dig for the sil- 
ver mine, at which I continued to work for 
nearly a month, without success in our under- 
taking, and finally I prevailed with the old gen- 
tleman to cease digging for it. Hence arose the 
very prevalent story of my having been a 

It will be incredible to most of my readers 
that Mr. Linn has had the temerity to re- 
assert that old and utterly discredited hy- 
pothesis of the origin of the Book of Mor- 

The Dictionary of Slander. 



The Mormon Point of View. 

mon. Such is nevertheless the case. How- 
ever, before setting forth how he tries to 
revamp the old Hurlbut shoe, I shall give, 
in brief, the history of Spaulding's manu- 

Solomon Spaulding, a disgruntled clergy- 
man of Conneaut, Ohio, witnessing the ex- 
cavation of some old mounds, conceived the 
idea of telling the story of Ancient America, 
and called his production, "The Manuscript 
Found." He tried various publishers in 
vain; for his story, as we shall see present- 
ly, was as raw and crude as a school-boy's 
composition. Spaulding died in 1816. His 
wife married a Mr. Davidson in 1820, and 
Mr. Spaulding's effects were, sent to her at 
Otsego, New York. "These included an old 
trunk," says Mr. Linn, "containing Mr. 
Spaulding's papers. 'There were sermons 
and other papers,' says his daughter, 'and 1 
saw a manuscript about an inch thick, close- 
ly written. * * * On the outside * * 
were the words. "Manuscript Found." I 
did not read it, but looked through it, and 
had it in my hands many times, and saw the 
names I heard at Conneaut, when my father 
read it to his friends.' " 

This manuscript reached the printing es- 
tablishment of E. D. Howe (pseudo-author 

The Dictionary of Slander. 


called on Hurlbut at his home near Gibson- 
burg, Ohio. "Her visit," says Linn, "great- 
ly excited him." He remembered getting 
the manuscript, and of delivering it to Mr. 
Howe, but thought it had been burned with 
other of Mr. Howe's papers. Mr. Linn con- 
tinues (p. 56) : 

"When Mrs. Dickenson pressed him with 
the question, 'Do you know where the "Manu- 
script Found" is at the present time?' Mrs. 
Hurlbut went up to him and said. Tell what 
you know.' She got no satisfactory answer, 
but he afterwards forwarded to her an affidavit 
saying that he had obtained of Mrs. Davidson a 
manuscript supposing it to be Spaulding's 
'Manuscript Found,' adding: 'I did not examine 
the manuscript until after I got home, when 
upon examination I found it to contain nothing 
of the kind, but being a manuscript upon an 
entirely different subject. This manuscript I 
left with E. D. Howe.' " 

I am going to quote from this manuscript 
presently — just to show the reader what 
kind of stuff Spaulding's story is made of, 
and how disappointed the Apostate Hurlbut 
must have been. "Why if it had been the 
real one" so he is quoted by Mr. Linn as 
saying, "I could have sold it for $3,000; but 
I just gave it to Howe because it was no 

Hurlbut (alias Howe) made it of some 
account, however. It is characteristic of the 
utter shamelessness of the man that he based 
his charge of plagiarism upon it, even while 

of "Mormonism Unveiled" previously quot- 
ed), at Painesville, Ohio, through the me- 
dium of D. P. Hurlbut (the real author of 
"Mormonism Unveiled), an apostate Mor- 
mon, in the following manner: Hating the 
religion from which he had apostatized — as 
all apostates do — and hearing that Spaul- 
ding had written a story, respecting ancient 
America, he set afloat the fabrication that 
the Book of Mormon was a plagiarism of 
this story. To prove this he applied to Mrs. 
Davidson for permission to read her former 
husband's manuscript, evidently with a view 
to getting an incontrovertible argument de- 
nouncing Mormonism. As the request was 
seconded by a letter from her brother, she 
consented on condition that it be returned 
to her by a certain date. This was in 1834 — 
four years after the Book of Mormon ap- 
peared. But the manuscript was never re- 
turned. What had become of it ? 

Howe's — that is to say Hurlbut's — book 
in the meanwhile had been published (in 
1836) charging definitely that the Book of 
Mormon was founded on the lost manu- 
script, and all the world was glad to believe 
the absurd invention. 

In 1880 — forty-six years later — Mrs. El- 
len E. Dickenson a great niece of Spaulding. 


The Mormon Point of View. 

knowing that no two names or phrases in 
the respective books were alike. Nor did 
he lie thus brazenly alone. He secured the 
affidavits of eight of Spaulding's acquaint- 
ances in Ohio.all declaring that the historical 
parts of the two books were identical, as 
they recollected Spaulding's story. Henry 
N. Miller is quoted as saying: 

"I have recently examined the "Book of Mor- 
mon,' and find in it the writings of Solomon 
Spaulding, from beginning to end, but mixed up 
with Scripture and other religious matter which 
I did not meet with in the 'Manuscript Found.' 
The names of Nephi, Lehi, Moroni, and In fact 
all the principal names, are brought fresh to my 
recollection by the 'Gold Bible.' " 

The Rev. Abner Judson, who claims to 

have heard the Spaulding story read to his 

father, says : 

"He wrote It in the Bible style. 'And it came 
to pass,' occurred so often that some called him 
'Old Come-to-pass.' The 'Book of Mormon' fol- 
lows the romance too closely to be a stranger. 
When it was brought to Conneaut and read 
there in public, old Esquire Wright heard It 
and exclaimed, "Old 'Come-to-pass' has come to 
light again.' " 

Particular attention is called to the al- 
leged utterances of Miller and Wright as 
here quoted by Howe and copied by Linn. 
We shall see presently how much reliance 
can be placed upon facts gathered by an 
apostate. Unfortunately for these vera- 
cious ( !) historians, the long-lost manu- 
script was found, and is now in the Oberlin 

The Dictionary of Slander. 


94 The Mormon Point of View. 

College library. The President, Mr. Fair- 
child, being on a visit to his old friend, Mr. 
L. L. Rice of the Sandwich Islands, and re- 
membering that the latter had purchased 
E. D. Howe's printing establishment, sug- 
gested that there might be, among the old 
papers, some valuable anti-slavery docu- 
ments. Their search resulted in finding 
Spaulding's much-famed storv. It was tied 
up in a package marked in pencil: "Manu- 
script Story, Conneaut Creek," and on the 
fly-leaf, "The Manuscript Found," below 
which were the words "Manuscript Story." 
The introduction informs the reader that 
the story was translated from "twenty-eight 
sheets of parchment * * * written in 
an eligant hand with Roman Letters and 
and in the Latin Language," taken from a 
stone box in a cave "near the west bank of 
Conneaught River," Ohio. The writer is 
feigned to be one Fabius who sets sail from 
Rome to carry a commission from Constan- 
tine to the Roman army in "Brittain." Driv- 
en by a storm into mid-Atlantic, the crew is 
almost frantic with fear, when "a mariner 
stept forward and proclaimed, Attend O 
friends and listen to my words — A voice 
from on high hath penetrated my soul and 
the inspiration of the Almighty hath bid me 

proclaim — Let your sails be wide spread 
and the gentle winds will soon waft you into 
a gentle harbor." 

On the fifth day they sailed "many 
leages" up a "spacious river" and cast an- 
chor near a town. Here they were met by 
a king and four chiefs, were feasted, then 
surrounded by a ring of one thousand men 
and women, and treated to a melange of 
"shouting and screaming, whooping — then 
dancing, jumping and tumbling with many 
indiscribible distortions in their counte- 
nances and indelicate jestures," and finally 
given a tract of land to build upon. 

"But now a most singular and delicate sub- 
ject presented itself for consideration. Seven 
young ladies we had on board, as passengers, 
to visit certain friends they had in Britain — 
Three of them were ladies of rank, and the rest 
were healthy bucksom Lasses. — Whilst deliber- 
ating on this subject a mariner arose whom we 
called droll Tom — Hark ye shipmates says he, 
Whilst tossed on the foaming billows what 
brave son of neptune had any more regard for 
a woman than a sturgeon, but now we are all 
safely anchored on Terra flrma — our sails furled 
and ship keeled up, I have a huge longing for 
some of those rosy dames — But willing to take 
my chance with my shipmates — I propose that 
they should make their choice of husbands." 

"Droll Tom"was rewarded "by one of the 

most sprightly rosy dames in the company 

* * * The three young ladies [of rank] 

fixed their choise on the Captain the mate 

and myself. * * * The six poor fellows 

The Dictionary of Slander. 



The Mormon Point of View. 

who were doomed to live in a state of 
Cebicy or accept of savage dames, discov- 
ered a little chagrine and anxiety." The 
event, however is duly celebrated and — 

"After having partook of an eligant Dinner 
& drank a botle of excellent wine our spirits 
were exhiderated & the deep gloom which be- 
clouded our minds evaporated. The Capt. as- 
suming his wonted cheerfulness made the follow- 
ing address My sweet good soald fellows we 
have now commenced a new voige — Not such as 
brot us over mountain billows to this butt end 
of the world. • * • * Surrounded by in- 
numerable hords of human beings, who resem- 
ble in manners the Ourang Outang — let us keep 
aloof from them & not embark in the same mat- 
rimonial ship." 

"Honest Crito" — one of the six — does not 
get such lofty ideas out of the wine. "Me- 
thinks," said he, — and he evidently speaks 
for his ill-starred mates — "I could pick out 
a healthy plum Lass from the copper coul- 
ered tribe that by washing and scrubing 
her fore and aft and upon the labbord and 
stabbord sides she would become a whole- 
some bedfellow." The seven happy couples 
are too magnanimous to oppose so natural 
a wish, and tell Crito to try the experiment. 
Night closes down finally. "We retired" 
says Fabius, "two and two in hand — ladies 
heads a little awri-blushing like the moon 
and — But I forgot to mention that our so- 
ciety passed a resolution to build a church 
in the midst of our village." 

Chapter three is devoted to an account of 
the "Delawans" with whom the new-comers 
lived ; chapter four to a philosophical disser- 
tation on the form of the earth; also to an 
account of their moving westward to the 
kingdom of the "Ohon«," the women and 
children being transported on the backs of 
six "Mammoons;" chapters five, six, seven, 
and eight, to prosy details respecting the 
"Ohons," "Kentucks," "Sciotans," and oth- 
er nations ; chapters nine and ten to an ac- 
count of learning, government, money, re- 
ligion and kindred topics, which, were they 
real facts, might excite interest on account 
of their very crudity, but which, as fiction, 
are insufferably boring. A ray of relief 
comes, when the book is half done, in the 
fact that Elseon, eldest son of "Hamboon, 
Emperor of Kentuck," makes love to La- 
mesa, eldest daughter of "Rambock, Em- 
perpr of Sciota." The constitution of 
Sciota prohibits such a marriage. But trust 
love to find a way. Listen to this : 

"They were together in one of apartments 
of the Emperors palace — the company had all 
retired. — I have said he in a low voice to La- 
mesa — conceived that opinion of you that I 
hope you will not be displeased if I express my 
feelings with frankness & sincerity. — You must, 
she replied be the best judge of what is proper 
for you to express — I am always pleased with 
sincerity. As the sun, says he my dear Lame**, 

The Dictionary of Slander. 



The Mormon Point of View. 

when he rises with his radient beams dispels 
the darkness of knight, so it is in your power 
to dispel the clouds of anxiety which rest upon 
my soul — The crown of Kentuck will be like a 
Rock upon my head, unless you will condescend 
to share with me the glory & felicity of my 
reign. Will you consent to be my dearest friend 
& companion for life? There is nothing she 
replies would give me more pleasure than a 
compliance with your request, provided it shall 
meet the approbation of my Father — But how 
can he consent, when our Constitution requires 
that his daughters should marry in his domin- 
ions? Besides my father intends that I shall re- 
ceive the King of Sciota for my husband. By 
performing says he, the cerimonies of Mariage 
at Tolanga we shall literally comply with the 
imperial constitution, as Talanga is within the 
dominions of your Father — But as for this King 
of Sciota do you sincerely wish to have him 
for a husband? No, she quickly speaks, anger 
sparkled in her eyes — No! The King of Sciota 
for my husband! his pride, his haughtiness — 
the pomposity of all his movements, excite my 
perfect disgust. I should as leave be yoked to 
a porcupine." 

It ought here to be remarked that the only 
condition on which President Fairchild 
would consent to the publication of this fa- 
mous story was that no change whatever be 
made in the manuscript; to which end he 
furnished the Latter-day Saints with a ver- 
batim et literatim copy, passages of which 
I herewith reprint to show its utter unlike- 
ness to the Book of Mormon. The excerpt 
above quoted exhibits Mr. Spaulding per- 
haps at his best as an author; unless the 
fragment which follows is more character- 
istic. Lamesa has received a letter signed 

"Rambock, Em. of Sciota," commanding 
her to marry Sambal in ten days. The im- 
mediate results are dramatic: 

"Had the lightning flashed from the clouds 
& pierced her heart, it co'ild not have produced 
a more instantaneous effect — She fell into the 
arms of Elseon — the maid ran for a cordial — El- 
seon rubed her temples & hands & loosned the 
girdle about her waist. Within about an hour 
the blood began to circulate. Elseon to his in- 
expressible joy felt her pulse beginning to beat 
& perceived flashes of colour in her face — With 
a plaintive groan she opened her eyes once 
more to the beams of day — & in a kind of wild 
destraction exclaimed — Ah cruel cr-jel Father — 
why have you doomed your daughter to a situa- 
tion the most odious & disgustful — As well 
might you have thrown her into a den of por- 
cupines, opossums & serpents — With such ani- 
mals I could enjoy life with less disgust & tor- 
ment, than with this mighty King of Sciota." 

Of course Elseon escapes to his own 

country, taking Lamesa with him. A war 

follows — the first in five hundred years. 

Before events begin to stir, however, the 

reader must yawn through endless letters 

hetween the emperors containing threats 

and counter threats, and through tiresome 

spread-eagle speeches concerning honor and 

patriotism. Here is the turning point in the 

war : 

"Sambal was now more indignant than ever 
— & raising his sword he threw his whole 
strength into one mighty effort, with an inten- 
tion to divide his body in twain. But Elseon, 
q lick as the Lightning sprang back & Sambals 
sword struck the ground with a prodigious force 
which broke in the middle — He himself had 
nearly tumbled his whole length — but recovering 

The Dictionary of Slander. 



The Mormon Point of View. 

& beholding his defenceless situation, he ran 
a small distance, & seizing a stone sufficiently 
big for a common man to lift he threw it at 
Elseon — It flew with great velocity & had not 
Elseon bowed his head his brains must have 
quited their habitation — his Cap however was 
not so fortunate; having met the stone as he 
bowed it was carried some distance from him 
& lodged on the ground. Elseon regardless of 
his cap, ran swiftly upon Sambal, whose foet 
having sliped when he threw the stone had 
fallen upon his back & had not recovered — Ter- 
ror now seized his mind — Spare, O spare my life 
says he & I will restore peace to Kentuck & 
you may enjoy Lamesa. — No peace sais Elseon 
do I desire with a man. whosf sword is red 
with the blood of my friends. He spoke & 
plunged his sword Into Sambals heart." 

Whatever may be said of Mr. Spaulding's 

spelling, diction, and sentential structure, 

his invention is even worse. His plot — if 

plot it may be called — lacks prospective- 

ness. Not once does he excite suspense as 

to the outcome of any situation. Indeed, his 

characters are so wooden that the reader 

can feel no interest in them whatever. Here, 

for instance, is the last meeting of the hero 

and heroine — poor saw dust figures that 

they arel 

"The time of Elseon was precious — He spent 
but a few moments with Lamesa, in which they 
exchanged mutual congratulations — & expres- 
sions of the most tender & sincere affection. — 
She conjured him to spare the life of her father 
& brother & not to expose his own life any 
farther than his honour & the interst of his 
country required. I shall cheerfully says he 
comply with every request, which will promote 
your happiness. He embraced her & bid her 

Two more paragraphs close the story ; af- 
ter which is the following notation : "The 
end of Solomon's Manuscript, copied by L. 
L. Rice, 1884 and 1885." Next comes an 
endorsement which must forever damn the 
author of "Mormonism Unveiled." It reads 
as follows : — 

"The writings of Sollomon Spalding 
proved by Oron Wright Oliver Smith John 
Miller and others The testimonies of the 
above Gentlemen arc now in my possession 
D. P. Hurlbut." 

The reader will call to mind that Hurlbut 
(alias Howe) prints affidavits, so Linn de- 
clares, representing two of these men, John 
Miller and Aaron Wright, as saying that 
they immediately recognized Spaulding's 
story in the Book of Mormon by the similar- 
ity of names, and the recurrence of the 
phrase "It came to pass." Wright is repre- 
sented as exclaiming: "Old 'come to pass,' 
has come to life again!" Yet here is Hurl- 
but's certificate of the fact that these men 
were acquainted with the real manuscript, 
in which none of those expressions occur at 
all ; which in fact is no more like the Book 
of Mormon than the coarse yarns of a 
horse-jockey resemble the Sermon on the 
Mount. Still these are the facts ( !) on 
which Mr. Linn expects to make out his 

(To be continued.) 

1U2 The Mormon Point of View. 

i Quarterly ifanazine. owned aixl edite<l by A. L. .Vel*on, 
Profexsor or E.^i-li. Brhham Vomig Untrer*il». Price 
$l no a year; »hiale niptex. .»(/-•. Ent-ie-lin the l'o*to.tfice at 

Provo Viiy, Utah, as second-class matter 

Vol. I. 

Provo City, Utah, April 1, If 04. 

No. & 


With almost every remittance come the 
encouraging words: Long life to the new 
magazine! "I commend your courage," 
writes Prof. B. S. Hinckley. "Accept my 
sincere wishes for the complete success of 
your great enterprise." From the headquar- 
ters of the Southern States mission: "We 
have taken great delight in perusing the ini- 
tial number, just received, and recognize in 
your effort, that which will, we are confi- 
dent, fill a long felt want." 

Naturally many of the encouraging letters 
come from missionaries. "I believe it will 
be of great benefit in helping me to place 
the Gospel before the higher class of peo- 
ple," writes an Elder in California. Another 
encloses to me a dollar just received from 
a chum at home, with the remark that he 
could think of no other way of spending it 

Reception of the New Magazine. 103 

our own development where we must study 
the philosophy underlying the principles of 
the Gospel, and learn zvhat these principles 
are, — ho?u they appeal to our lives and how 
they affect the lives of others, — rather than 
continue proving that Peter, James, John, 
and Paul taught them. Christ commanded 
His Apostles to 'teach' all nations the things 
that Fie had taught them. The same injunc- 
tion is laid on us. We sometimes think we 
have discharged that duty when we prove 
that die former Apostles taught faith, re- 
pentance, baptism, etc. ; but these terms have 
very little meaning to most people. They 
want to know why they should act, before 
they move, and what the result will be. 

"This spirit is manifest not only in the 
world, but also among our own young peo- 
ple. They too are asking why ; and the Gos- 
pel is such a beautiful, such a perfect phil- 
osophy of life, that I have wondered why- 
some of our literary artists have not tried 
their brush on it long ago. I have felt the 
need of something of the kind so much in 
our missionary classes, and in my efforts to 
explain the many questions asked by the 
Elders, that I have been trying to write some 
essays myself, during the past year, on the 
Fall, the Atonement and other principle? 
of the Gospel. I am not a professor of lan- 
guage and often find it impossible to illus- 
trate by the arrangement of words the pu> 

that it would do himself and the cause so 
much good. "Your recent article in the 
Era on 'Two aspects of Deity' gave me an 
appetite for mure. . . . This state is full 
of the Thomas type of individuals, with 
scarcely any of the Nathaniel class." 

"But many friends write me of the good 
they think such a journal will do in Zion. 
"I am myself one of the simple Nathaniels," 
writes a sister from Parowan, "but I have 
many dear ones who are not of that class, 
but who belong to the doubters: and I am 
sure your magazine is just what I am look- 
ing for." From a brother in Chester comes 
this endorsement: "I wish there were 'ten 
thousand pens' as able as yours advocating 
these same principles in as thorough a man- 
ner." And dear, blunt Brother Savage re- 
minds me: "You have a big job on your 
hands to reconvert die converted saints ; but 
I wish you God-speed in an effort to make 
us think more and work harder on advanced 

"I appreciate your view point," writes 
President McOuarrie of the Eastern States 
■mission, "and feel sure you are working 
along the proper lines. I have long been 
convinced that we have reached a point in 

104 The Mormon Point of View. 

tures I see ; but I can see the beauty, and feel 
the power in these principles and in the or- 
ganization of the church. 

"You have a great theme and I believe you 
have the power and ability to illustrate the 
truths you have studied so carefully from 
the view point of reason and utility. You 
will have a hard struggle financially in start- 
ing your magazine ; but if you are success- 
ful in getting it fairly before the people, it 
will be appreciated by every thoughtful per- 
son who reads it. I haven't much to ofler 
you, Brother Nelson ; but if my faith ar d 
confidence, and what little influence I pos- 
sess, will be of service to you, I take pleasure 
in offering you the latter, and assuring you 
of the former. I pray that you may be 
blessed in your worthy enterprise. The 
courage that undertakes such a task deserves 

My readers will pardon me, I trust, for 
putting off again the essay on the "Mormon 
Point of View." As the articles in the 
"Dictionary of Slander" happened all to 
turn on matters relating to the Book of 
Mormon. I felt I could not forego the op- 
portunity of making this a Book of Mormon 
number; especially as the leading article is 
germane to the present widely-aroused dis- 
cussions resulting from the new ideas set 
forth in the M. I. Manual respecting the 
coming forth of this ancient record. 

106 The Mormon Point of View. 




In closing his preface to the abridgment 
he had made of the Nephite records, the 
Prophet Mormon uses these significant 
words: "Now if there are faults, they are 
the mistakes of men: wherefore condemn 
not the things of God that ye may be found 
spotless at the judgment seat of Christ" 
Joseph, the translator, might well have used 
the same language. This caution is mani- 
festly not to assure us that God makes no 
mistakes — that fact is self-evident. The pur- 
pose is plainly to imply the writer's aware- 
ness that there may be errors, many of them, 
in this record of an ancient people. It would 
certainly be rash to hold that the book as 
translated is free from them. 

This raises at once the question whether 
a book may be divinely inspired which is 
more or less full of human errors and inac- 
curacies. Let the reader pause well before 
making reply; remembering that his answer 
must involve the Bible equally with the 

Human Side of the Book of Mormon. 10 



tions. How, indeed, could there be a per- 
fect revelation flowing through the channel 
of an imperfect mind, and moulded in the 
matrix of an imperfect medium? It vvjulcfc 
be folly to look for it either in the Bible or 
the Book of Mormon. But God can, and 
does, compensate for the imperfect personal 
equation of the prophet by making each in- 
dividual soul that seeks him in faith feel — 
even as the Prophet felt — the truth of the 
message, through the medium of the Spirit 
of truth. "Though the letter killeth, yet 
doth the Spirt make alive." 

Let us now note, in the light of this 
thought, wherein the Book of Mormon is al- 
most certain to contain errors and inaccu- 
racies ; first in respect of the original abridg- 
ment by Mormon, and second in respect of 
its translation into English by Joseph Smith. 

The ancient history of America as set 
forth in the Book of Mormon covers a per- 
iod of nearly 2,700 years, or from the build- 
ing of the tower of Babel to about 400 of the 
Christian era. It involves an account of two 
separate and distinct peoples. The first, or 
Jaredites, became extinct about 590 B. C, or 
shortly after the second race, the Nephites r 
began to flourish ; and the history of the first 
race became known to the second by means 

Book of Mormon, — a fact that need not be 
insisted upon to any one acquainted with 
the results of the "higher criticism" of the 
Jewish scriptures. Space will not permit me 
to enter into this theme; but perhaps the 
following suggestions may aid in coming to 
a proper conclusion. 

Whenever God attempts to speak to man 
through the medium of words he is at once 
conditioned and handicapped: (1) by the 
imperfection of man's language, which be it 
remembered consists of nothing more than 
a collection of symbols for the facts of 
man's consciousness — that is, for both the 
truths and errors that lie in his mind; and 
(2) by the degree of intelligence to which 
the mind has attained through which he 
speaks. The prophet's soul may no doubt 
be so illumined by divine power as to feel 
within itself the full truth of the message; 
but the moment he attempts to translate his 
feelings into words he is conditioned not 
only by what he knows of the meaning of 
these symbols (i. e. by the extent of his 
knowledge), but also by his skill or want of 
skill in the use of them. 

Try as you will, you cannot bridge the 
gulf between God and man by any revelation 
in words which is not subject to these condi- 

108 The Mormon Point of View. 

similar to that which now makes the history 
of both known to us ; that is, plates on which 
was written an account of the older civiliza- 
tion were found by the Nephites among the 
ruins of the extinct race, and translated by 
means of Urim and Thummim. 

The end of the second, or Nephite nation, 
being known to God, He commanded the 
Prophet Mormon, who lived in the latter 
half of the fourth century, A. D., to abridge 
from the tons of records in the royal arch- 
ives a connected history of both peoples ; the 
purpose being to show mankind in our day, 
that God lives and rules among the nations 
of the earth ; or in the language of Mor- 
mon's preface "to the convincing of Jew and 
Gentile that Jesus is the Christ, the eternal 
God, manifesting himself to all nations." 

It is not contended that Mormon was an 
infallible historian. On the contrary, he 
was a man like you and me, willing to at- 
tempt God's work by the highest light and 
best ability within him, and as he might be 
guided by the inspiration of heaven. The 
requirement made of him, and his qualifies 
tions for the work, may best be realized 
'perhaps if/ we suppose Paul, Peter, the 
Beloyed Apostle, or even some humble Luke 
in the early Church, to have been command- 

Human Side of the Book of Mormon. 109 

ed to abridge the Jewish records, so as to 
make a continuous history from the point of 
view of God's dealings with man. 

In only one thing should we expect such 
a book lo approach infallibility ; viz, in 
whatever might be necessary to secure it? 
central purpose: the keeping alive of faith 
in God, by portraying his providences i . 
the annals oi history, or by setting forth the 
truths of his Gospel in holy precept. In the 
rounding out of this large essential truth, 
we may well believe that the spirit of inspi- 
ration would enlighten or restrain the his- 
torian at every step, to the end that men in 
reading the history might come unto God, — 
the supreme essential in the life of man here 

But for the rest, — the thousand insignifi- 
cant details in the life of a people; details 
of geography, politics, natural environments, 
— what matter if this date be wrong, that 
incident credited to this king when it be- 
longs to another, or there be some inaccu- 
racy as to the number of killed or wounded 
in a certain battle? Is the Mississippi less 
a river, because you fail to enumerate ac- 
curately its shoals and sand bars, &r the 
debris floating on its surface ? 

Had Peter been the historian of such an 

Human Side of the Book of Mormon. Ill 

of North and South America as may now be 
known by a pupil in the fifth grade. What 
wonder therefore that his locations are 
somewhat vague, or that he omits reference 
entirely to very important places? And, if 
he seems to shorten distances between 
points, — as for instance the "land south- 
ward" and the "land northward" from the 
"narrow neck of land," — is it not precisely 
what we should expect of one reviewing the 
records of a thousand years of movement, 
and traveling himself in imagination rather 
than in reality ? 

So also in a multitude of secular details : 
manufacture, architecture, domestic life, 
natural and physical environment, agricul- 
ture, commerce, politics, jurisprudence, and 
so on ; allusions to which must necessarily 
be oblique, if they occur at all, since the pur- 
pose was not to give the secular but the re- 
ligious life of the nation. 



Another fact becomes patent the moment 
you subject the Eook of Mormon to literary 
analysis: the original writer was no master 
of style — at least not in the sense in which 

1L0 The Mormon Point of View. 

abridgment, would it be sane to discredit the 
divine inspiration of the book because, for 
instance, he repeated the story of Samson 
slaying a thousand Philistines with the jaw 
bone of an ass ? Or even gave credence to 
that other story about the foxes and the 
ripened grain? The sooner Christians al- 
low for the personal equation of the sacred 
writers, the sooner will the Bible become a 
consistert record of God's dealings with 

And so of the Book of Mormon. The 
records whence it was compiled were writ- 
ten during a period of a thousand years, and 
with no doubt all the fidelity to truth of 
which their authors were capable : yet com- 
pared with what we know today of the 
natural world — of geography, topography, 
geology, mineralogy, botany, zoology — what 
should we expect under these heads even in 
the complete Nephite records? Less there- 
fore in an abridgment which could represent 
scarcely a thousandth part of the records 
abridged, and which aimed primarily to se- 
lect only those aspects of the history which 
dealt with the providences of God. 

With all the learning at his command, 
Mormon would probably not be able to get 
even so accurate a geographical knowledge 

11*2 The Mormon Point of View. 

we apply that term to modern composition. 
To be a master of style is, among other 
things, to know what to leave out, and how 
to convey thought between the lines. The 
Prophet Mormon seems to have written 
right on, without a single erasure or recon- 
struction. The style is consequently very 
diffuse, but also very simple and clear. 

As to the mannerisms in. the book, some 
are undoubtedly attributable to the original 
writers, others to the translator. Among 
the first may be mentioned the oft-recurring 
phrase, "It came to pass ;" which is probably 
the best English rendering of what must 
have been a much-used anticipative idiom in 
the Nephite language. Akin to this in its 
purpose of arresting the attention, is the 
interjection "behold," which occurs much 
more frequently than in any text Joseph 
could possibly have known. Another man- 
nerism is set forth in the following sentence : 
"Behold their women did toil and spin and 
did make all manner of cloth, of fine-twined 
linen, and cloth of every kind, to clothe their 
nakedness." There is scarcely a page in 
which this, the emphatic form of the past 
tense, does not occur a number of times: 
often when the regular past would very 
much improve the style. 

Human Side of the Book of Mormon, 113 

114 The Mormon Point of View. 

Whether this last mannerism is to be 
credited to Mormon or to Joseph Smith is 
uncertain. It is a tense-form peculiar to the 
English among modern tongues. To claim 
that it is a literal translation is to assume 
that there was a similar idiom in the original 
language ; which, to say the least, would in- 
volve a unique co-incidence. But on the 
other 'hand, to say that it is exclusively a 
modernism is to declare that Joseph Smith 
did not have a very fine literary taste ; which 
was true enough of him at this stage of his 

Respecting the prolixity of the style, the 
merit or the blame* — whichever point of 
view you take — must probably be divided 
between author and translator. In the repe- 
tition of the thought, and in the multiplying 
of details, — that is to say, in the matter of 
redundancy, — Mormon is undoubtedly re- 
sponsible ; but in the many instances of cir- 

•The scholar naturally prefers a senten- 
tious style, one packed with thought. But such 
a style — Paul's for example — is Greek to the un- 
learned. On the other hand a diffuse, — that is 
to say, a widely-amplified, phraseographlc, — 
style, being cast in the very forms of thought 
habitual to the unlettered, is very easily com- 
prehended, though it takes more time to read. 
Considering the kind of people to whom God 
Intended the Book of Mormon should appeal, its 
style could not have been more admirably adapt- 
ed to Its mission. 

cumloculion — the placing in a round-about 
phrase what one well-chosen word would 
have expressed — the fault, if fault it be, was 
perhaps Joseph's, and represents the grop- 
ing stage in the growing vocabulary of a 
student, — a stage very familiar to the teach- 
er of composition. 

As to other marks of the personal equa- 
tion of Joseph Smith, detractors of Mor- 
monism are not slow to point out that some 
two thousand or more mistakes in grammar 
and spelling are to be found in the first edi- 
tion, which have been expunged in subse- 
quent editions. Nor have they all been elim- 
inated from the modern version — one does 
not readily understand why. Of the occa- 
sional errors remaining, the most frequent 
are these: the use of "them" for "those;" 
the interchangeable use of "you," "ye," and 
"thou ;" the use of the plural pronouns 
"they," "their," "them," after a singular an- 
tecedent; the use of "had ought" for 
"ought," and hadn't ought" for "ought not," 
also of "done" for "did ;" and once in a 
while the use of a word ending in ing instead 
of its corresponding finite verb, thus leaving 
the thought hanging fire, as it were. 

Respecting all these veibal errors, as well 
as the numerous instances of faulty diction, 

Human Side of the Book of Mormon, lie 

and diction peculiar to the region in which 
the Prophet passed his boyhood, the only 
remark is this : they are all like so many mir- 
rors reflecting the personality of Joseph 
Smith, and as such are incontrovertible evi- 
dences in support of the part he played in 
the coming forth of the book ; while, on tht 
other hand, they no more invalidate the glor- 
ious message it contains than would a few 
harmless leaves pollute a pure stream. Con- 
sequently, he who scorns to drink deep of 
the truths flowing from God through this 
record, because of its homely channel, de- 
serves to perish of soul-thirstiness. 



Regarding the so-called anachronisms of 
the record, — as for instance, that Laban's 
sword could not have been of "purest steel" 
because steel had not yet been invented, and 
that there were no horses, cows, sheep, and 
swine in America, till they were brought 
from Europe, — it is sufficient to say here 
that the gratuitous opinions of savants 'on 
these matters do not close the question. 
Prom the very nature of the facts involved, 
no man can do more than vouchsafe his 

llfi The Mormon Point of View. 

opinion ; but as the dicta of past antiquar- 
ians are being constantly overturned by 
later discoveries, it will be well to suspend 
judgment on these disputed points respect- 
ing the Book of Mormon. But even should 
inaccuracies be proved in secular details of 
this kind, the essential mission of the book 
would no more be invalidated than is that of 
the Bible because of manifest discrepancies 
in the cosmogony of Genesis. 

We come now to a very interesting pecu- 
liarity in the contents of this ancient record ; 
viz, the fact that many quotations are identi- 
cal with passages in the King James' ver- 
sion of the Bible ; passages which it is hardly 
likely were known by Mormon or Moroni 
previous to writing this record. Twenty 
chapters are thus incorporated bodily, or 
with but slight changes, from the Old Tes- 
tament, and three, containing the Sermon on 
the mount, are taken from the New Testa- 

"Besides these." says Linn, "Hyde counted 
298 direct quotations from the New Testament, 
verses or sentences, between pages 2 to 480 cov- 
ering the years from 600 B. C. to Christ's birth. 
Thus Nephi relates that his father, more than 
2,000 years before the King James' edition of the 
Bible was translated, in announcing the coming 
of John the Baptist, used these words, "Tea, 
even he should go forth and cry in the wild«r- 

Human Side of the Book of Mormon. 117 

118 The Mormon Point of View. 

ness, prepare ye the way of the Lord, and make 
his paths straight; for there standeth one among 
you whom ye know not; and he is mightier than 
I, whose shoe's latchet I am not worthy to un- 

These passages when examined prove not 
to be "direct quotations" but rather indirect. 
Thoughts couched in New Testament 
phraseology, made up of bits from various 
texts, — as if the translator needed to rely 
upon memorized phrases to move from point 
to point, — are not infrequent. The quota- 
tion above noted, for instance, is made up 
of two ; viz. Mark I, verse 3, "The voice of 
one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the 
way of the Lord, make his paths straight;" 
and verse 7, "There cometh one mightier 
than I, the latchet of whose shoes I am not 
worthy to stoop down to unloose." But 
these same passages occur with slight varia- 
tions respectively in Isaiah 5 '.27, and 40 :3, 
which book was known to the Nephites. 

However, it is not my purpose to evade 
the idea that Joseph Smith's translation was 
affected by the King James' version of the 
Bible, for it probably was. This passage 
from Moroni 7:45 is too nearly like Paul's 
words in Corinthians 13, to be a mere co- 
incidence : 

"And charity suffereth long, and is kind, 

Human Side of the Book of Mormon. 119 

take no advantage of your weakness. And If 
men come unto me, I will show unto them their 
weakness. I give unto men weakness that they 
may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for 
all men that humble themselves before me*; for 
if they humble themselves before me, and have 
faith in me, then will I make weak things be- 
come strong unto them. Behold, I will show un- 
to the Gentiles their weakness, and I will show 
unto them that faith, hope, and charity bringetfti 
unto me — the fountain of all righteousness^' 

And so confident did Moroni become that 
God would vindicate his work, and the work 
of his father — full of weaknesses though 
they were, — that he set down this promise co 
the last chapter of the record: 

"Behold I would exhort you, when ye shall 
read these things, if it be wisdom in God that 
ye shall read them .... that ye would aste 
God, the eternal Father, in the name of Christ,, 
if these things are not true; and if ye shafi* aaft 
with a sincere heart, with real intent, having 
faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of f* 
unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost," 

Rather a reckless promise for an fmposter 
to make, was it not ? And yet the Lord has 
confirmed it to thousands and is confirming: 
it every day. Herein, then, lies the source o€ 
Latterday Saint faith in the Book of Mor- 
mon, and not primarily in either the fnter- 
nal or the external evidences of its divine 
authenticity. Not that they are trnrnfndfu? 
of debatable assurances. They must perforce 

and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh 
not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no 
evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth 
in the truth, beareth all things, belleveth all 
things, hopeth all things, endureth all things." 

We come, then, face to face with the ques- 
tion, of how the Book of Mormon, — part of 
it written 600 years before Christ, the rest of 
it 400 years after, and in a place completely 
isolated, so far as we know, from the east- 
ern world, — could nevertheless be influenced 
by the writings of the New Testament, — and 
the King James' version at that, — to the ex- 
tent of both direct and indirect quotations. 



Before taking up the question with which 
the last chapter closed, however, I desire to 
define the attitude of ninety-nine out of 
every hundred Latterday Saints on the di- 
vine authenticity of this revelation. The 
Prophet Moroni, the last writer in the book, 
foreseeing the skepticism of the Gentiles in 
our day because of imperfections in the rec- 
ord, besought the Lord in much solicitude, 
and received this answer to his prayer : 

"Fools mock, but they shall mourn; and my 
grace is sufficient for the meek, that they shall 

120 The Mormon Point of View. 

believe the testimony of the witnesses — four- 
teen in all — who beheld the plates ; they 
•cannot doubt that Joseph Smith dictated 
and that Oliver Cowdery wrote the transla- 
tion ; the text itself is proof that Joseph 
could not, unaided by divine power, have in- 
vented the book; and though the difficult^ 
<of believing it a divine record are made to 
seem great and numerous, the difficulties of 
not believing it are greater and more numer- 
ous still. 

^Nevertheless, while this overbalance of 
probabilities begets credence, it is, as ob- 
served above, the testimony of the Spirit 
which begets conviction. That conviction 
recedes to credence and credence changes to 
disbelief, if men apostatize, is no evidence 
against the divine authenticity of the book ; 
any more than it would be proof that the 
sod has ceased to shine, if men go into a 
cave, where they can no longer see it. Nor 
is it essential to the purposes of God that 
men should believe in the Book of Mormon, 
who would not become, or who have ceased 
4o be, workers in the kingdom of God ; for 
it is an inexorable law of progress that no 
onan can long hold fast to a truth, who 
evades the responsibility of living it. 

.Latter-day Saints, then, are convinced that 

Human Side of the Book of Mormon. VZ3. 

122 The Mormon Point of View. 

the Book of Mormon is a divinely inspired 
book by the same testimony that tells therrt 
God lives, that Jesus is the Christ, or that 
the Gospel has been restored in its parity" 
they know it by the testimony of the Holy 
Spirit. It is this fact, the fact that their as- 
surances are from a Source transcending 
ordinary experience, and are therefore im- 
pregnable to the logic-shafts of mundane 
reasoners, which is so baffling to the med- 
dlers who undertake to set them right. Pic- 
ture, for instance, the chagrin of a certaii* 
Reverend Lamb — whose teeth and claws as 
exposed in his work proved, however, any- 
thing but lamb-like — a man who set out a 
few years ago with no less modest an ambi- 
tion than to cause a general apostasy from 
the Mormon Church. So confident was he 
that this result must follow the publications 
of his diatribe against the Book of Mormon 
that he could scarcely conceal his exultation. 
Twice did he remind his readers of Orsonr 
Pratt's declaration that Mormonism must 
stand or fall by this ancient record ; and fifty- 
times in his book he drew the conclusions 
that it had fallen under his blows never to 
rise again. Picture then his chagrin, I re- 
peat, when his book had no more effect on 
Mormonism than would a blast of foul wind. 

Human Side of the Book of Mormon. 123 

wholesome thoughts, and absorbing once 
more the high moral atmosphere, of the 
book so traduced and vilified. 

And now after fifteen years, I have, 
through the need of preparing the present 
article, passed once more through this pain- 
ful soul experience; with similar results, 
however, as to my faith in the Book of Mor- 
mon, and not without improvement in moral 
perception; for after this last ordeal, I am 
more clearly able to draw the conclusion, as 
a maxim for my future guidance, that it is 
destructive to one's spiritual perception of 
truth to read any book begotten in hate, 
however striking its contents or logical its 

And now briefly as to Mr. Lamb's argu- 
ments; the first, that the book is human be- 
cause of its prolix style, fails even by refer- 
ence to his own standard of comparison, the 
Bible, which has all kinds of style, from the 
most compact to the most diffuse. The sec- 
ond argument, which aims to discredit the 
miracles of the Book of Mormon, fails also 
from the fact that it can be turned, instance 
for instance, against the miracles of the 
Bible. It is merely an argument against be- 
lief in miracles. The third, in which he at- 
tempts to show that the Book of Mormon 

And yet to be quite fair, this book is the 
severest and, from the writer's point of 
view, the most logically destructive arraign- 
ment vet attempted against the Book of 
■Mormon- I remember reading it when it 
*first came out, and my experience is no 
idouht more or less typical of all Mormons. 
J-fad the writer concealed his hate better; 
Siad lie found something good and admirable 
an the book, — were it ever so small, — he 
anight possibly have appealed to his Mormon 
leaders with more or less effect. But when 
3ie reaches the conclusion that, aside from 
ats quotations of scripture, the book contains 
<only the "veriest slop, an aggregate of un- 
aiatural and silly stories," we instinctively 
distrust his facts, and impugn his judgment. 

In reading his criticisms, I felt my soul 
l>eing filled with darkness and doubt ; not so 
anuch from the arguments he sets forth, 
which are answerable, as from inhaling the 
spirit of evil lurking intangibly underneath 
3iis thoughts. It was as if my spirit were in 
telepathic communication with the "Spirit 
ahat denies." I regained my peace of mind 
only by appealing to God for a renewed tes- 
timony concerning the divinity of this reve- 
lation; and I got rid of the bad taste in my 
mouth only by reading again the pure 

124 The Mormon Point of View. 

antagonizes or undermines the Bible, is the 
veriest tissue of sophistry and special plead- 
ing. It has force only by virtue of sectarian 
bias in the reader. His two chapters on 
American antiquities represent the effort of 
a man who does not hesitate both to sup- 
press and to exaggerate in order to make his 
point. As to this argument it is, as before 
suggested, profitable to wait; for these an- 
tiquities have scarcely begun to be studied as 
yet. There is finally his argument drawn 
from the fact that the book contains numer- 
ous quotations from the Old and New Tes- 
taments, King James' translation; and this 
brings me again to the question of how su.h 
a thing could have taken place. 



In a consideration of this question the 
fundamental proposition — that on which the 
Mormon and his opponent must alike agree 
— is the fact that, howsoever he came by his 
material, Joseph Smith dictated the Book of 
Mormon, without apparent hesitation, as 
fast as a scribe could write it in long hand. 
There is no chance for error on this point. 
The entire Whitmer family, besides Oliver 

Human Side of the Book of Mormon. 125 

L'owdery, Martin Harris, and Joseph's wife r 
sat and listened, or had free access to listen,, 
to the record as it grew day by day during 
the entire month of June, 1829. 

The second fact to bear in mind is, that 
Joseph Smith did not look directly at the 
plates while translating-. In fact the plates,, 
while they were in the possession of the 
Prophet, were probably not immediately at 
hand with him during most of the transla- 
tion.* His method was to place the Urim 
and Thummim, (or else the Seer stone), un- 
der a cover, — a hat being used for thi* 
purpose ; whence, the natural light being 
excluded, the "spiritual light would shine 
forth," says David Whitmer. "A piece of 

•This statement is based on various consid- 
erations. First, if Joseph's eyes, while translat- 
ing under a dark cover, where he had first 
placed the interpreters, were hidden — and both 
Whitmer and Harris are explicit on this point — 
he would not need to have the plates at hand; 
second, Joseph did not exclude the Whitmer 
family, including Oliver, Martin, and Joseph's - 
wife, from the room in which he was translat- 
ing; to have looked at the plates as one looks 
into a book would have been to expose them 
to view, contrary to the commandment of the 
Lord; third, David Whitmer relates that during- 
the translation at his father's house, he discov- 
ered evidence that the plates were hidden in the 
Whitmer barn, and upon asking Joseph about 
it, was assured that they were. The Angel 
Moroni seems to have been the immediate- 
guardian of the sacred records, during the lat- 
ter part of the translation. 

Human Side of the Book of Mormon. 127 

version of the Bible. Such an interruption 
could not have escaped detection, and would 
surely have been noted in the accounts of 
the listeners. The quotations, therefore, 
whether direct or indirect, must be regarded 
as having come precisely like the rest of the 
matter, and probably — save in the case of 
direct transcriptions of # chapters — without 
the conscious knowledge of the translator. 
I mean to say, that in cases where the rec- 
ord does not give credit, — in phrases or 
fragments of Bible diction. — he probably did 
not know at the time that he was plagiariz- 

Such in brief are the facts which any the- 
ory of translation must seek to cover. 
Whether the one presented below shall suc- 
ceed in doing so, remains to be seen. At 
this point, however, let me stop to emphasize 
that it is only a theory, and one which, it is 
needless to say, I am ready to surrender the 
moment anything more plausible shall be 
presented. Moreover, as my only purpose 
in thinking about this matter at all, is to 
reconcile the findings of my head and my 
heart, so I shall welcome the explanations 
of any one else who has been thinking along 
this same line. , 

My idea, then, is that the translation of 

12b" The Mormon Point of View. 

something resembling parchment would ap- 
pear and under it was the interpretation in 
English." With this explanation Martin 
Harris substantially agrees ; and Mr. Lamb, 
after quoting Isaac Hale, Joseph's father-in- 
law, to the effect that the Prophet was 
obliged, for days at a time, to hide the 
plates in the woods to escape their being 
stolen, adds, quite as if he had scored a 
great point: "Yet the translation in the 
house went right on all the same!" And 
referring to Whitmer's statement that the 
angel did not return the plates to Joseph 
after the loss of the 116 pages manuscript, — 
a statement contradicted by Joseph, however, 
— Lamb continues: "So that when he used 
the Urim and Thummim, he could translate 
with the plates hid in the woods, and when 
he used his 'peep stone' the plates were of 
no avail as they could not be seen — while 
the entire closing portions of the book were 
translated ( ?) with the plates in heaven!" 

The third fact worthy of note is that the 
•dictation from start to finish proceeded 
while the Prophet's eyes were thus hidden 
from seeing anything by the natural light; 
what I mean to say is, he did not stop to 
, hunt up the passages which resemble, or are 
identical with, passages in the King James' 

123 The Mormon Point of View:. 

the Book of Mormon is the joint product of 
two men — Joseph Smith and most probably 
the Angel Moroni ; that the angel was com- 
missioned by God to act for the dead quite 
as truly as was the Prophet for the living; 
that such, in fact, is the meaning of the 
words spoken to the Three Witnesses, de- 
claring that the record had been translated 
"by the gift and power of God." 

But how, the reader is ready to ask. 
Nothing could be simpler, as I view it. 
Moroni, being familiar with the characters 
on the plates, read them character by char- 
acter ; that is to say, he looked at the sym- 
bols and thereby awakened or aroused in his 
mind the thought corresponding to the sym- 
bols — for that is precisely what reading 
means. The thought so aroused passed by 
the power of the Spirit directly into the mind 
of the Prophet, who in turn rendered it into 
such English symbols as were at his com- 
mand. Nor did the thought alone so pass : 
the very image of the character that held the 
attention of Moroni was flashed into Jo- 
seph's mind and visualized before him, just 
as David Whitmer says. What then would 
be more natural, than that the English sym- 
bols corresponding to the thought in Jo- 
seph's mind should also be projected before 

Human Side of the Book of Mormon. 129 

130 The Mormon Point of View. 

him as a visual image? Thus we may ac- 
count for the double line of symbols, ancient 
and modern, which was seen by the Prophet 
in the darkness surrounding the Urim and 

Now, if what was in Moroni's mind was 
thus flashed to Joseph's, then by the same 
law, what was in Joseph's would be flashed 
back again; that is to say, Moroni would 
know by the answering message whether 
the new symbols being set down by the 
scribe, corresponded in thought-content 
with the symbols at which he was looking; 
and not until then would he permit the 
image to fade and pass on to another. More- 
over, if we can realize how visual images 
could thus be conveyed from mind to mind, 
we shall have no difficulty in understanding 
that auditory images could also pass; 
whence the explanation of how unfamiliar 
Nephite names could be reproduced/ 

Fortunately, science has taught us enough 
concerning the laws of thought communica- 
tion, — that is to say, concerning the incipi- 
ent science of telepathy, — that no fact in the 
above theory need stagger the student. 
Stranger things are taking place today in 
the laboratories of psychic research. By 
"stranger" I mean merely that telepathic 

Human Side of the Book of Mormon. Vol 

dictions respecting this book, their budding 
faith may be blighted. Nor is your meth- 
od of disposing of the question one that 
Elders can use in the field, when confronted 
by critics of the Book of Mormon. 



Let us now consider some of the subsid- 
iary questions arising from this theory. The 
first is naturally in relation to the Angel 
Moroni. Where was he when the translat- 
ing was going on? If the conclusions of 
telepathy may be credited, the distance be- 
tween minds communicating with each other 
is not a material consideration. He might 
therefore have been in the woods, where 
Joseph took the plates, or even in "heaven," 
as Mr. Lamb sarcastically suggests. The 
probability is that he was very near to the 
Prophet, perhaps in the same room. Being 
a resurrected person, he could function in- 
stantly either on the mortal or the spiritual 
plane, even as Christ did after his resurrec- 

That Moroni did in fact so appear and 
disappear at will, is evident from two in- 
stances of his coming into and melting from 

communication takes place under circum- 
stances less simple and direct ; not that 
scientific research has yet evolved telepath- 
ically — or probably will evolve during the 
next century — anything to compare with the 
Book of Mormon either in extent or definite- 
ness. My idea is simply that if man has 
demonstrated the power of telepathy to ex- 
ist, then it is surely worthy of faith that God 
could so shape conditions as to make the 
communication of the Book of Mormon 
possible in the manner I have suggested. 

Let me add in this connection that I am 
not unmindful of the fact that this very at- 
tempt to explain how the translation was 
done, — the very attempt to bring into the 
realm of comprehension what has been rev- 
erently held hitherto as a mystery of faith, — 
may shock the sensibilities of many Latter- 
day Saints. To these I desire to say : It is 
not for you that I am writing ; you may well 
go on ignoring all attempts at unravelling 
this mystery, deeply grounded as you are in 
the conviction that God was equal to the 
occasion, no matter what modus operandi 
that involved. But remember, at the same 
time, that your children do not start out 
from your point of view. Without some 
rational explanation of the apparent contra- 

132 The Mormon Point uf Vieiv'. 

view, besides that recorded by the Three 
Witnesses; once to David Whitmer, Oliver 
Cowdery, the Prophet and his wife, while 
on their way in a wagon from Harmony to 
Seneca, and once to Mother Whitmer, when 
he showed her the Plates as a reward for her 
faithfulness in caring for Joseph and his 
scribe while translating. To this power of 
becoming visible or invisible at will are 
probably due also the early rumors of a 
■"mysterious stranger" hovering around the 
place where the translation was going on. 
Moroni could therefore have stood by Jo- 
seph's side, had there been need to do so, 
without being seen by any mortal eye.* 

The second question relates to Joseph 
Smith's mental qualifications. I have sug- 
gested that Moroni communicated with him 
through a medium common alike to the in- 
habitants of heaven, earth, and hell — the 
medium of thought divorced from all sym- 
bol. His part was consequently to put the 

•As to the kind of beings who do God's com- 
missions as angels, consider the experience of 
John the Revelator: "And when I had heard and 
seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of 
the angel which shewed me these things. Then 
saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am 
thy fellow-servant, and of thy brethren the 
prophets, and of them which keep the sayings 
of this book: worship God,"— Rev. 22:8, 9. la it 
not about time that Christians were revising 
their notions concerning angels? 

Human Side of the Book of Mormon. 133 

134 The Mormon Point of View. 

thought so received, into English words ; 
and in doing so his personal equation would 
inevitably be stamped upon the translation, 
as we have seen that it was. It is important 
to consider now what that equation was, es- 
pecially with reference to the use of words 

In respect of diction, writers are of t>> » 
extreme types, with all degrees of overlap- 
ping. The one extreme is well represent 1 
by Henry Ward Beecher, who read or lis- 
tened with such intensity that he could nev- 
er quote : the phraseology of others having 
melted down like slag in the white heat of 
his mind and yielded up the pure gold of 
their ideas. When such a man writes, every 
phrase is coined anew and therefore 
stamped indelibly with the writer's individ- 

The other extreme is represented by ev- 
ery beginner in the thought world and, for 
that matter, by nine-tenths of those who 
grow old in it. They gather ideas with more 
or less avidity, both from books and men; 
but they stow away these ideas without un • 
dressing them, — boots and all, so to speak. 
Consequently, when these try to write, lhev 
proceed from phrase to phrase, rather than 
from word to word; and there is always a 
certain conventionality or triteness in their 

style, — a resemblance to others in phrase- 
ology which would convict them of plagiar- 
ism, should their productions be compared 
critically with the authors they have read. 

To this latter class belongs, as I have in- 
timated, every tyro in composition, and 
therefore Joseph Smith ; at least this WaJ 
probably true of him during that early per- 
iod when he was put to the stress of invent- 
ing the style of the Book of Mormon. As 
long as the thought communicated by Moro- 
ni ran along in simple narrative, the experi- 
ences of his own life furnished the Prophet 
with an original diction; but the moment it 
ascended into abstract realms, he had to 
draw upon his stock of phrases — upon that 
part of his vocabulary which, in the lan- 
guage of psychology, had not been apper- 
ceived or melted down in the crucible of in- 
dividual experience. When we consider 
that this part of his vocabulary had been 
stored almost exclusively by contact with 
ministers of the Gospel, and through rea 1- 
ing the King Tames' version of the Bible, 
we have an adequate explanation of why 
scriptural phraseolop'" enters so largely into 
the style of the Book of Mormon. 

In a word, this explanation is that the 
thought in the original and the thought in 

Human Side of the Book of Mormon. 135 

the translation are the same: melted down 
from the symbols in each tongue, they 
would be identical; recast, either in the 
Nephite or in the English language, the 
thought would take a new dress as often as 
tnue should be a new matrix, i. e., a dif- 
ferently adjusted set of thinking powers in 
the translator. Had the thought of the 
Book of Mormon been flashed into a mind 
like that of Webster or Beecher, it would 
undoubtedly have been moulded into forms 
of expression which would have left no 
chance for the charge of plagiarism. As it 
was, the thought could do nothing else than 
take the line of least resistance, and that was 
the line of expression familiar to the trans- 
lator through contact with the King Janes' 
version of the scriptures. 

As before suggested, from the fact that 
the witnesses of the mode of translation 
have nowhere said that Joseph stopped to 
read passages from the Bible, it is fair to 
assume that those chapters which occur 
identical in both books, were received and 
dictated by the same telepathic communion 
as the rest of the matter ; that is, the Prophet 
himself did not probably know, at tl^e rime 
of translating, how the result would com- 
pare with the English version of the Bible. 

13ti The Mormon Point of View. 

Are we then to assume that the Scriptures 
as known to the Nephites were identical, in 
form of expression, with the scriptures in 
the King James' version? By no means. 
That the thought was the same, we may well 
believe, since this is God's part of scripture. 
There is surely no difficulty in holding that 
Christ would give the sermon on the mount 
in practically the same mental concepts to the 
Nephites that He did to the Jews. Now, 
had Joseph never read the English version, 
he would have been obliged to coin these 
concepts anew as best he could; in which 
case his rendering would have differed from 
Matthew's as much at least as do those of 
the other three evangelists ; but even if we 
suppose he had read Matthew's only once, 
we must allow that the thought would take 
the channel broken in preference to one un- 
broken, unless the translator strongly willed 

As an instance of the truth that probably 
no impression on the consciousness is ever 
completely effaced, Mr. Hudson, in his 
epoch-making book, "The Law of Psvchic 
Phenomena," relates that a servant-girl, 
when put into the clairvoyant state, aston- 
ished her hearers by reciting perfectly a 
Greek poem in die original attic tongue. 

Human Side of the Book of Mormon. 137 

138 The Mormon Point of View. 

Theosophists claimed the circumstance as 
evidence of re-incarnation ; but it was finally 
explained that ten years previous she had 
been present, dusting a certain library, 
while a noted scholar had recited the poem 
to a friend. Psychic research reveals many 
similar instances. It is not difficult to be- 
lieve, therefore, that Joseph's mind would 
without his knowledge retain whole chap- 
ters of the Bible, which would spring ver- 
batim unto consciousness when brought into 
association with the thought that originally 
inspired them. This view requires that 
quotations and so-called plagiarisms shad 
always be from the King James' version. — 
the only Bible probably known to the early 
life of the Prophet, — and this, as we have 
seen, was the case. . 



J The next question is as to the part played 
by the "interpreters" in the translation. It 
was, of course, entirely to be expected that 
men of such simple minds as Martin Harris 
and David Whitmer should ascribe the se- 
cret of reading an ancient language to mere 
mechanical means ; the most obvious explan- 

Human Side of the Book of Mormon. 139 

tober 25 and 26, 183 1, when pressed on this 
question, he replied that it was "not expedi- 
ent to tell the world all the particulars of the 
coming forth of the Book of Mormon." 
Furthermore, certain facts connected with 
the history of the translation make it per- 
fectly clear that, howsoever the work was 
done, the real theater of its doing was the 
Prophet's mind, not the "interpreters;" that 
the latter were in fact, what common-sense 
would declare them to be, merely a means 
to an end, in the same sense as the micro- 
scope, the telescope, or the telephone. 

The first of these facts relates to the at- 
tempt of Oliver Cowdery to translate. He 
had earnestly prayed for the gift and the 
Lord through Joseph had promised it to 
him: "Yea, behold, I will tell you in your 
mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost 
which shall come upon you, and which shall 
dwell in your heart." Nevertheless when he 
tried to translate he could see nothing. He 
evidently had the notion that translating was 
merely a matter of looking into the U'rim 
and Thummim, rather than of coming into 
spiritual rapport with God. "Behold," said 
the Lord in a later revelation, "you have not 
understood ; you have supposed that I would 
give it unto you, when you took no thought, 

ation being that the mystery of it lay hidden 
mainly in the Urim and Thummim or Seer 

This is, indeed, a very comfortable theory 
to hold — like all beliefs based on that 
shadowy foundation, mystery. It requires 
no mental exertion, no intricacy of percep- 
tion, and like the account of creation in Gen- 
esis, seems so final as to be extremely sooth- 
ing and bracing to dogmatic minds. Unfor- 
tunately it leaves us in two' serious dilem- 
mas. On the one hand, it makes the Proph- 
et a mere automaton, needing no other men- 
tal qualification than ability to read words 
on a sign-board ; and on the other it makes 
God responsible for all the errors, — mis- 
takes in spelling, grammar, punctuation, 
diction, sentential structure, and modern 
quotation, — which are undoubtedly to be 
found in the translation. These are super- 
ficial errors, it is true, and therefore strong 
evidences of the genuineness of the book, if 
viewed as the personal equation of Joseph 
Smith ; but inexplicable and therefore very 
damaging, if attributed to the LordJ 

That the Prophet himself did not hold so 
transparently mechanical a view of his work, 
is evident from his silence on the real modus 
operandi. At a conference in Kirtland, Oc- 

140 The Mormon Point of View. 

save it was to ask me. . . . You must 
study it out in your mind ; then ... if 
it is right, I will cause that your bosom shall 
burn within you. If not you shall have 
a stupor of thought that shall cause you to 
forget the thing which is wrong." 

This inci dent sho w g *^*t it if p r imarily__ 
the mind a nd heart, not a mechanical instru- 
ment, through w rnVh Q»H mmmnniratps 
messages to man. O f similar import is the 
following incident, as related by David 
Whitmer : 

"At times when Brother Joseph would look 
into the hat in which the stone was placed, he 
found he was spiritually blind and could not 
translate. He told us his mind dwelt too much 
on earthly things. — When in this condition he 
would go out and pray, and when he became 
sufficiently humble before God, he could then 
proceed with the translation. — One morning 
when he was getting ready to continue the 
translation, something went wrong about the 
house and he was put out about it — something 
that Emma, his wife, had done. Oliver and I went 
upstairs and Joseph came up soon after — but 
he could not translate a single syllable. He went 
down stairs, out Into the orchard, and made sup- 
plication to the Lord; was gone about an hour 
—came back to the house, asked Emma's for- 
giveness and then came up stairs where we 
were, and then the translation went on all 

Not only do we see in this incident that it 
was the soul of the Prophet which had to 
come into communion with God, — or with 
the being whom God had appointed to the 

Human Side of the Book of Mormon. 141 

work of translation, — but we also catch a 
glimpse of the stern conditions of that com- 

A third circumstance emphasizes the fact 
that the "interpreters" were merely a means 
to an end, and serves, moreover, to point out 
that end. This circumstance lies in the fact 
that i_jit first God communicated with the 
Prophet by vision, a condition of complete 
abeyance of the ordinary physical conscious- 
ness ; next he spoke to him through an an- 
gel, — that is, palpably, or as one man speaks 
to another ; then he revealed his will through 
the Urim and Thummim, — a condition of 
physical consciousness, but involving at t^e 
same time intense psychic concentration; 
later communications occur through the 
"Seer stone," an ordinary chocolate-colored 
pebble, but always under similar conditions 
of complete abstraction from things world- 
ly; at last we find the Prophet communing 
with God without need of aid from instru- 
ment of anv kind. 

In this series may be seen the gradual 
growth of Joseph's telepathic powers. The 
conclusion seems inevitable that the "inter- 
preters" were merely a means of helping the 
Prophet so to withdraw his mind from the 

1451 The Mormon Point of View. 

physical plane, as to enter into correspond- 
ence with beings on the spiritual plane/j 

Consider how admirable was this arrange- 
ment of means to secure the end which I 
have suggested. The head-covering effectu- 
ally shut out the objects of the natural 
world, and focused expectation on the inner 
world ; for there, whispered faith, at a point 
a few inches from the eye, on the very sur- 
face of the medium, would presently appear 
the message. The Prophet had only to wait 
in a spirit of quiet concentration. He had 
perfect faith in the efficacy of the instru- 
ment ; for had it not been consecrated to the 
purpose ? That very fact would engender the 
child-like expectancy necessary to commun- 
ion with another mind through the medium 
of the Holy Ghost. Presently the spiritual 
light burst — the characters appeared — the 
translation went on. 

["Any object consecrated by God, and suf- 
ficiently believed in by man, would have had 
a like effect. Indeed, the crown of the hat, 
could faith have been made expectant 
enough by it, would have served the same 
purpose, — provided it had also been accept- 
ed by God. The best of mechanical con- 
trivances are probably only crutches to help 

Human Side of the Book of Mormon. 14;i u4 The Mormon Point of View. 

keep steady a limping faith. A handkerchief 
sent by the Prophet healed the sick once; 
not because there was virtue in this frag- 
ment of linen, but because it awakened and 
concentrated faithT] In this present life we 
must see as we can, "through a glass dark- 
ly;" there comes a time for all of us, as 
there did for the Prophet, when we shall see 
"face to face," without need of mechanical 

Note well the reciprocal aspect, above 
pointed out, respecting any revelation given 
to man. A medium of communion — such as 
the Seer stone — may be sanctioned by God, 
yet be ineffectual unless it serves to quicken 
.in man the faith necessary to such com- 
munion. On the other hand, man may set 
up some medium in which he has all confi- 
dence, yet his faith will be vain, if God does 
not accept it as a basis of communion. 

Such an explanation will help us to under- 
stand the outcome of a trick played by Mar- 
tin Harris on the Prophet while they were 
translating the 116 pages of manuscript 
which were afterward lost. Martin had 
slyly substituted for the "Steer stone," an 
oval-shaped pebble just like it, which he had 
picked up on the river bank. On looking 
into the hat, Joseph exclaimed: "What is 

the matter, Martin? All is as dark as 
Egypt." Martin's face betrayed him. "Why 
did you do that?" censured Joseph. "To stop 
the mouths of fools, who say you are re- 
peating all this out of your head," was the 

The Angel Moroni, acting for God, could 
not permit the trick to succeed, even though 
Joseph's faith was perfect It is to be feared, 
however, that Martin drew the wrong con- 
clusion from the failure. He probably de- 
cided that "seer" stones are intrinsically 
different, by internal structure, from stones 
of the same chemical composition and other- 
wise resembling them ; the true conclusion 
probably is that the difference is one made 
entirely by the will of God. That medium 
only is accepted which he himself appoints, 
not that which man appoints for him. Had 
the stone picked up by Martin been set apart 
instead of the other, as a means of bridging 
for Joseph the chasm between the natural 
and the spiritual plane, there is no reason 
whatever why it should not have served the 
purpose equally well. 

The principle involved in this distinction 
is a vital one ; for on it hinges our attitude 
toward all man-constituted agencies of sal- 
vation, as well as toward the fetich or relic 

Human Side of the Book of Mormon. 145 

worship so common in one division of the 
Christian world. It is not denied that God's 
will may endow with miraculous powers 
otherwise inanimate things ; as for instance, 
Aaron's rod that budded; the Ark of the 
Covenant whence issued the voice of Jeho- 
vah ; the Brass ball or directors given to 
Lehi, which pointed the direction to travel; 
and the sixteen stones cut from the moun- 
tain by the Brother of Jared, which became 
luminous by the touch of the finger of the 
Lord. But in all these cases the power still 
resides in the will of God: should any at- 
tempt be made to use them for purposes 
different from those to which they were con- 
secrated, they would perhaps instantly be- 
come as inert and useless as so much similar 
raw material. It is to be hoped that Latter- 
day Saints will never forget this fact — that 
power to do is inseparable from intelligence, 
and intelligence is possible only to a sentient 
being; else we shall be in danger of such 
superstitions as believing, for instance, that 
a fragment of the true Cross, or the so- 
called holy grail, or any other piece of inert 
matter, is endowed with divine powers sim- 
ply from having been casually associated 
with the Savior, or some other exalted be- 

Human Side of the Book of Mormon. 147 

Lord." Is it less a truth to you that the 
translator made the divine affirmation with a 
singular instead of a plural verb? If it is, 
perish the culture that has made your men- 
tal palate so finical — the false education 
which discovers surfaces to your mind but 
hides depths ! The Book of Mormon will 
no doubt be a stumbling block to you; for 
you are of that carping type which seek er- 
ror rather than truth. With such a soul- 
attitude, there are no native, unelaborated 
truths in God's universe for you : even dia- 
monds are but. worthless pebbles in your 
path, until someone has cut and polished 
them. All nature conspires to hide the real- 
ity and fill your mind with the show of 
things. In the language of scripture, God 
(i. e. the harmony of the universe) sends 
you strong delusions that you may believe 
a lie and be damned ; simply because the 
love of truth is not in you. 

Take another sentence — which Lamb says 
"caps the climax of absurdities" in the faulty 
grammar and diction of the book. If it 
really is the worst specimen, as this carping 
critic says, then no verbal error is bad at 
all, at least in the sense of hiding or obscur- 
ing the thought. Here is the sentence: 
"He went forth among the people, waving 

L4(j The Mormon Point of View. 

That the Urim and Thummim or Seer 
stone had a definite part to play in the 
translation, — whether the simple mission of 
assisting the Prophet to spiritual concentra- 
tion, as I have suggested, or some other, — 
matters not now ; the tiling to bear in mind 
is that the Book of Mormon is the product — 
let the means be what they may — of an in- 
telligence in the spiritual plane reacting up- 
on an intelligence in a mortal plane ; that is 
to say, the vital issue in this problem of 
translation is one of mind not one of matter. 



The last question I shall treat in this es- 
say relates to the book itself. Is it an in- 
spired record? Was the. Prophet right in 
declaring that a man would be able to get 
the truths of the Gospel more nearly pure 
from this revelation than from any other 
scripture ? 

Several interesting phases of this question 
immediately present themselves. The first 
is as to the relation of truth to the dress it 
wears. Suppose you should read in the 
Book of Mormon this sentence: "Whore- 
doms is an abomination in the sight of the 

148 The Mormon Point of View. 

the rent of his garment in the air, that all 
might see the writing which he had wrote on 
the rent." If the love of truth is in your 
soul, the real thought in this passage will 
not fail you. Let the symbols be what they 
may, this is what you read : "He went forth 
among the people waving the rent garment 
in the air that all might see the words he had 
written upon it." 

Moreover, if the occasion leading up to 
the manifesto described in these words, has 
been appreciated, you will be quite blind to 
the trivial slips in diction ; for you will real- 
ize with intense interest that this was the 
first suggestion of a battle flag among the 
Nephites. At a critical moment in a terrible 
war, Moroni "rent his coat, and taking a 
piece thereof he wrote upon it : In memory 
of our God, our religion, our freedom, and 
our peace, our wives, and our children." 
This improvised ensign he raised on a pole, 
calling it the "title of liberty." Surely the 
interests to which he apoealed are the most 
deep and searching in the human heart ; and 
when we read how the device caused the 
people to rally round him, and became in 
time a precious national heirloom, — the last 
trace of vexation, which we may have felt 
respecting the faulty symbols of the thought, 

Human Side of the Book of Mormon. 1-i'J 

is swallowed in our admiration for the 
greatness of the thought itself. 

And so of all other passages complained 
of by critics. The man who primarily seeks 
thought, caring little to scrutinize its dress — 
the man who reads while he runs — will not 
fail to have his soul stirred as was his who 
wrote and his who translated the record; 
ambiguities lie only in the path of the super- 
critical. That these latter should stumble 
along, finding only matter for offense in the 
book, is as if some rare exotic of a tender- 
foot, viewing the magnificent expanse of one 
of our deserts, should be blind to the deep 
overarching blue resting on its endlessly 
varied horizon, deaf to the silent eloquence 
of its solitudes, and insensible to its prodi- 
gal wealth of pure air and glorious sunshine 
— all because his dainty toe came in contact 
with one of its prickly pears ! 

Elsewhere I have intimated that had a 
mind like Beecher furnished the symbols of 
thought for the Book of Mormon we should 
have had a record as full of subtle surprises 
in diction as the present translation is inno- 
cently free of them. It would then have 
passed muster perhaps as an English classic. 
But would the underlying truths, which 
form the soul of the book, have been the 
more divinely inspired that they were 

Human Side of the Book of Mormon. 151 

ards? Which would be the easier 
problem, to brighten the unused, il- 
literate mind to the point wherein it 
could do God's service, or bend to new ideals 
and make instantly plastic to His will, the 
fixed soul-attitude of some world-renowned 
religious philosopher? 

Picture Jonathan Edwards, for instance, 
giving up piece by piece, under the influence 
of God's command, the cherished mental 
creations of his life, and stripping himself 
little by little of the vestments of popularity 
so dear to him, to clothe himself instead in 
the sack-cloth and ashes of universal theo- 
logical reprobation! He could no more 
have done it than a camel can get through 
the eye of a needle. I do not mean to assert 
that, had he truly realized such mental read- 
justment was God's command, he would yet 
have lacked the moral courage necessary for 
martyrdom, or even for what would have 
been harder to him — ostracism; he may or 
may not have lacked such .courage. What I 
mean to say is, that he was so opinionated 
that God could never have made him realize 
something as His will which involved the 
tearing up of the very anchorage of his 
spiritual life. 

The reader will probably agree with me, 
then, that looked at from the human point 

150 The Mormon Point of View. 

dressed to suit the taste of grammarian and 
rhetorician? As well say that the forests 
on our mountain tops show no evidence of a 
divine hand, because nowhere do they con- 
form to the artistic designs of the landscape 

The next question is as to the relationship 
of truth and him who gives it an earthly 
dress. That God should have chosen an un- 
lettered youth like Joseph Smith to be the 
mouthpiece of so important a revelation, is 
incredible to many good people. Nor do I 
wish to dismiss this objection with the usual 
remark that God's ways are not man's ways 
and must therefore not be judged by the 
same standard. Nevertheless, in order to 
look at the question rationally, it may be 
well to put it in this way : ' 

Suppose that no higher wisdom than that 
of which man is capable should have guided 
our Father in heaven in choosing a prophet 
to usher in this new dispensation — a dispen- 
sation which, be it remembered, was pre- 
destined to be widely divergent from the re- 
ceived religions of the world, — would that 
wisdom have chosen a mind unbiased to- 
ward any prevalent system, even though it 
were illiterate, or would it have chosen a 
mind keenly bright and educated, but 
set in its moral and spiritual stand- 

152 The Mormon Point of View. 

of view the untrammeled mind of Joseph 
Smith was a better medium for God's pur- 
posed iconoclasm, than would have been the 
mind of any other man with a hundred times 
the mental polish, yet lacking the necessary 
plasticity. But even had this not been so, 
there was practically no other course left for 
the Lord than to choose just such a mind. 

We say, indeed, that nothing is impossi- 
ble to God, — by which we probably mean 
that all things are possible to him which are 
not impossible in themselves. This, however, 
God cannot do and remain God : he cannot 
compel men to come unto him; for that 
would be taking away their free agency. In 
the early days of the Prophet, learned theo- 
logians, however they might differ among 
themselves respecting creed and ritual, were 
unanimous on one thing ; viz, that there was 
never to be any more communication be- 
tween God and man, as in Bible davs. To 
them, therefore, the book of revelation was 
closed and sealed ; and this, too, not only in 
theory but also in fact. For had there not 
been a mind on the earth constituted like 
Joseph Smith's — a mind willing to receive 
new revelation, — God would literally have 
been barred out from further conscious 
counsel in the affairs of men, by sheer want 
of faith on man's part. 

Human Side of the Book of Mormon. Ib'S 

154 The Mormon Point of View. 

So much from man's point of view. Let 
us now try to look at this question from 
God's point of view. 

While we may admit that Joseph Smith 
was illiterate, and as the world views learn- 
ing, might even have been called ignorant, 
yet we are by no means prepared to con- 
cede that any man in his day and time stood 
higher in the scale of intelligence, as. God 
measures souls. In Mormon theology man 
does not figure as merely the ephemeral 
creature of mortality — doubtful of past or 
future existence. On the contrary, there is 
in him that which is co-eternal with the uni- 
verse. And so varied and significant was 
the life he led during (perhaps) millions of 
years with God, that every soul born into 
mortality might, in lesser degree, pray the 
prayer of our Elder Brother: "Father, 
glorify thou me with the glory 1 had with 
thee, before the world was." 

And what is more, the present life of any 
soul may still be open in the direction of its 
Maker, if that soul wills to keep the gates of 
faith ajar; though God, cannot keep them 
open without the soul's consent. If there- 
fore our Father should desire a spirit to do 
work of salvation on this lowly plane of 
earth in behalf of its fellow spirits who have 

Human Side of the Book of Mormon. 155 

womb, I sanctified thee, and ordained thee 
a prophet unto the nations." This is the 
way in which one of these obscure men — 
Jeremiah — was called ; that is to say, God 
chose him in view of his record during pre- 
existence, not because of any earthly pre- 
eminence to which he might attain ; which is 
probably the way in which all his servants 
are chosen for their earthly missions. 

Coming back then to Joseph Smith and 
the Book of Mormon, let us bless the mem- 
ory of the unlettered boy whose trust in God 
did not falter; from out whose mouth 
streamed forth, even though in faltering 
phrase, the history of a buried civilization ; 
who did not stop to argue with the Lord, 
or insist upon his point of view, but spoke 
right on as thoughts and emotions were 
awakened in his soul ; whose life, though not 
tree from errors of judgment, exemplified 
daily the prayer of our Savior : "Father, thy 
will, not mine, be done;" and whose death 
placed him in the ranks of those who have 
died for the testimony of Jesus. 

As to the Book of Mormon, it is not a hu- 
man invention because it is dressed in Mie 
garb of human phraseology. Like the 
Bible, it has a soul apart from its incarnation 
in words — a truthness that shall live on, 

shut the gate between themselves and God, 
to whom would he speak, if not to that soul 
whose channel of spiritual communion is 
still open? And so also in judging the fit- 
ness of any man for such a divine commis- 
sion, which think you God would gauge him 
by, the fitful moments of his earthly career, 
or the measureless record of his pre-exist- 

It does not follow, therefore, because a 
man has not won a recognized 
standing among men, that his intelligence, — 
that is to say, his capacity for receiving and 
acting out Truth — is less than that of the 
greatest of earthly savants. Which, indeed, 
of the Bible prophets, if we except the Apos- 
tle Paul, could claim the credence of man- 
kind on the score of learning? Were they 
not all, with this single exception, of the 
same type as Joseph Smith? — Men whose 
greatness lay solely in the fact that their 
souls were prisms through which the white 
light of infinite Truth was differentiated in- 
to the myriad-hued duties and obligations 
of social life ; duties and obligations the 
daily reactions from which bring man near- 
er to God. 

"Before I formed thee in the belly I knew 
thee, and before thou earnest forth out of the 

156 The Mormon Point of View. 

though words change their meaning and 
grow obsolete ; and like some majestic pine 
that sloughs the dried and withered branch- 
es which have ceased to serve its life, so in 
time will the Book of Mormon free iteelf 
from those errors in word and phrase which 
are blemishes now only to the superficial 
man, but which do not hide the beauty and 
symmetry of its inner truths to the soul that 
is earnestly seeking the way of life. 

From Patriarch Charles D. Evans, a man 
as scholarly as he is spiritual-minded, comes 
the following comment on the leading article 
of the last number: "Its philosophy is 
searching, and places religion in direct har- 
mony with natural law. It is a work of in- 
tense thought, and a thorough refutation of 
that theology whose narrowness separates re- 
ligion from the universe of which it is an es- 
sential part. I was struck with your descrip- 
tion of the Sons of Perdition (note, p. 50) : 
'Men in respect of obedience to God are like 
beacon-fires : as long as a spark of the di- 
vine life remains, it can be kindled unto re- 
pentance ; but suppose it goes out, — can you 
rekindle ashes? The Sons of Perdition are 
merely the ash-heaps of divine fires that 
have gone out', — a comparison which por- 
trays the awful condition with a lucidity 
which makes one almost feel the spirit of 
their hopelessness." 

158 The Mormon Point of View. 


Of one thing in respect to Mormonism 
the world seems absolutely convinced, viz., 
that Joseph Smith could not have written 
the Book of Mormon. For a long while 
therefore it rested easy in its eager accept- 
ance of the Hurlbut, alias Howe, invention 
that the new Bible was none other than the 
stolen manuscript of Solomon Spaulding. 
Hurlbut found no difficulty in securing a 
dozen sworn statements, from men who 
claimed to have heard Spaulding read his 
story, identifying the names and incidents 
of the two books. Especially did these affi- 
davits dwell on one identical mannerism in 
the style, viz., the oft-recurring phrase "It 
came to pass." What more proof was need- 
ed where everyone was more than willing 
to believe? 

From this complaisant attitude, the world' 
was, however, rudely awakened when Mr. 
Fairchilds, president of the Oberlin College, 
Ohio, discovered Spaulding's long-lost 
manuscript — among a lot of old papers in 
the library of his friend, Mr. L. L. Rice of 
Honolulu, and with its publication vanished 
the last screen protecting this old refuge of 

liars and lies. Hurlbut, Howe, and the oth- 
er conscienceless scoundrels* whom they in- 
duced to swear to false affidavits, stood out 
naked for what they were. So far from the 
words "Nephi, Lehi, Lamanite, Nephite and 
all the principal names" of the Book of Mor- 
mon being in the Sapulding story, there 

•I have looked at this word "scoundrels" 
both in hot manuscript and also in cold print, 
debating whether to change it. I first try to 
think, with President Fairchilds, that the time 
was so remote when these men listened to 
Spaulding's readings, that the two stories have 
since become confounded in their memories. 
Then I turn to the "Manuscript Found" and 
read Hurlbut' s own endorsement thereon: 
"The Writings of Solomon Spalding Proved by 
Aron Wright Oliver Smith John Miller and oth- 
ers [the very men who signed these affidavits]. 
The testimonies of the above gentlemen are now 
in my possession;" and when I fully realize that 
thi3 is therefore the story in which they make 
affidavit to finding "Nephi, Lehi, Lamanite," 
etc., and the words "It came to pass," so often 
recurring that they were led to nickname 
Spaulding "Old come-to-pass;" and when I re- 
member, furthermore, that Hurlbut could have 
made this endorsement only in 1834, the year 
when he got this manuscript from Mrs. Spaul- 
ding's trunk and turned it over to E. D. Howe — 
two years before Howe's book, containing Hurl- 
but's testimonies, appeared; and consequently 
must conclude that Hurlbut and Howe knew, 
and these men knew that they were deliberately 
swearing to a falsehood. — when I realize all this 
I must let the word stand with all of Webster's 
signification: "A mean, worthless fellow; a 
man without honor or virtue." Moreover, when 
I reflect that these men were not loath thus to 
cast aspersion on a whole people, because for- 
sooth it was safe, even popular, to do so, I leave 
also the word "conscienceless" to keep the word 
"scoundrels" company. 

The Dictionary of Slander. 159 

proved to be not even the remotest likeness 
between them. "Mr. Rice, myself and oth- 
ers," writes President Fairchilds, "have 
compared it with the Book of Mormon, and 
could detect no resemblance between the two 
in general or in detail. There seems to be 
no name or incident common to the two." 

This was in 1884. For twenty years the 
traducers of Mormonism were paralyzed by 
the unwelcome revelation. Now comes one 
William Alexander Linn, who attempts to 
resurrect the old slander with two import- 
ant variations : first, that the original of the 
Book of Mormon was another story by Solo- 
mon Spaulding, and second, that it was doc- 
tored up and made a religious romance by 
Sidney Rigdon. The latter variation be- 
came necessary because of the fact that the 
Reverend ( !) Solomon Spaulding, held for 
so long to be an eminent Presbyterian di- 
vine, turned out, by his own confessions, to 
be a rank infidel.* 

•"It [the Christian Religion] is in my view 
a mass of contradictions and an heterogeneous 
mixture of wisdom and folly — nor can I find any 
clear and inco.itrovertable evidence of its being 
a revelation from an infinite benevolent and 

wise God I disavow any belief in the 

divinity of the Bible and consider it a mere 
human production designed to enrich and a? • 
randlze Its authors & to enable them to manage 
the multitude." — Solomon Spaulding's confes- 
nlon of faith, an addendum to the "Manuscript 

160 The Mormon Point of View. 

That is the proposition which Linn must 
next sustain, if he is to account for the Book 
of Mormon as a rehash of the Spaulding 
Manuscript. The difficulties are tremen- 
dous and might well stagger even so steady 
a hater as he, were it not that he feels in- 
stinctively how anything will pass for proof 
against Mormonism. 

For instance, he has first to prove that 
Spaulding wrote a story that is within gun- 
shot likeness of the Book of Mormon. Had 
the "Manuscript Found" been burned, as 
Hurlbut thought it was, this would have 
been very easy, — judging by the affidavits 
Hurlbut, alias Howe, collected ; but as it 
turns up in all its amateur crudity, Mr. Linn 
must show that Spaulding wrote "another" 
manuscript, "going further back with dates, 
and writing in the old scripture style, in or- 
der that it might appear more ancient." 

He must next get this manuscript where 
Sidney Rigdon can copy it surreptitiously — 
in other words, steal it outright. Mr. Rig- 
don m ust, moreover, be supplied with a mo- 
Found." Could such a foundation be the source 
of the pure and exalted spirituality of the Book 
of Mormon? Linn evidently thinks not, whence 
the need of working in Sidney Rigdon. 

The Dictionary of Slander. 


102 The Mormon Point of View. 

tive for stealing it: This motive Mr. Linn 
finds in a deep-laid plot by Rigdon to start a 
new religion, in order to get revenge on {he 
"Campbells," who got all the glory for 
founding the Disciple or Campbellite 
Church — a glory which Rigdon should have 

Rigdon must next have been attracted — 
somehow — to Joseph Smith as the very 
man to become the prophet of the new dis- 
pensation. Accordingly he makes Rigdon 
prepare the copy of the Book of Mormon, 
by injecting into the "other" Spaulding's 
manuscript the religious dogmas of the 
Campbellites, and then makes him take it by 
installments to Joseph Smith ; who, hid be- 
hind a screen, dictates it to a scribe, quite 
according to the verified account of its com- 
ing forth. Rigdon thereby becomes the 
"mysterious visitor," seen entering and 
leaving Joseph's house occasionally, in the 
early accounts by the Prophet's neighbors. 

But now come two difficulties. The first 
is that Rigdon, whose motive for theft and 
forgery was to get even with the Campbells 
for robbing him of glory, consents neverthe- 
less to play second fiddle to Joseph Smith 
and to be "snubbed and ill-treated" by the 
very tool of his successful villainy. Mr. 

The Dictionary of Slander. 


profit. This Mr. Spaulding refused to do. Sid- 
ney Rigdon, who has figured so largely in the 
history of the Mormons, was at that time con- 
nected with the printing office of Mr. Patterson, 
as is well known in that region, and, as Rigdon 
himself had frequently stated, became acquaint- 
ed with Mr. Spaulding's manuscript and copied 
it. It was a matter of notoriety and interest to 
all connected with the printing establishment 
At length the manuscript was returned to its 
author, and soon after he removed to Amity 
where Mr. Spaulding deceased in 1816. The 
manuscript then fell into my hands, and was 
carefully preserved." 

There are four trifling objections, how- 
ever, to the truth of this explanation: (i) 
Mrs. Davison, Spaulding's widow, came 
out with an affidavit immediately afterward, 
discrediting many of the facts in this letter 
and denying that she wrote it. It was sub- 
sequently proved to be the concoction of one 
Reverend(!) D. R. Austin. (2) "Rigdon 
himself in a letter addressed to the Boston 
Journal, under date of May 27, 1839, denied 
all knowledge of Spaulding," so Linn ad- 
mits, "and declared that there was no printer 
named Patterson in Pittsburg during his 
residence there." (3) The manuscript has, 
as we have seen, been found and identified. 
It is, moreover, a piece of writing that no 
sane man would think of copying. 
(4) Spaulding died in 1816, and as the theft 

Linn sees in the latter fact some deep mys- 
terious power which the younger man exer- 
cised over the older, — quite in the dime nov- 
el fashion. The other difficulty is the very 
consistent, logical, undeviating account by 
Joseph Smith of each successive event in 
the coming forth of the Book of Mormon. 
But this narrative, Mr. Linn points out, was 
not written till 1838, ten years after the 
translation of the Book of Mormon, and 
seven years after Sidney Rigdon joined the 
Church — time enough for the arch-plotter 
Rigdon to make the invention smooth and 
plausible ! 

Let us now take up these various aspects 
and see in what shape they leave this last 
traducer of Mormonism. Mr. Linn (p. 52) 
quotes from the "Boston Recorder," May, 
1839, what purports to be Mrs. Davison's 
history of her former husband's story. 
"After giving an account of the writing of 
the story, her statement continues as fol- 
lows :" 

"Here (in Pittsburg) Mr. Spaulding found a 
friend and acquaintance in the person of Mr. 
Patterson, who was very much pleased with it. 
and borrowed it for perusal. He retained it for 
a long time, and informed Mr. Spaulding that. 
/ if he would make out a title page and preface, 
he would publish it, as it might be a source of 

lti4 The Mormon Point of View. 

is purported to have been before that, it was 
at least fifteen years previous to the coming 
out of the Book of Mormon, or at a time 
when Rigdon could not have had the motive 
imputed to him.* 

Nevertheless, on the strength of this 
pious invention Mr. Linn proceeds to build 
up his hypothesis of another manuscript, 
and of Rigdon's theft and forgery ; bolster- 
ing it by the affidavits of such men as John 
N. Miller and Aaron Wright, above quoted 
— men who are demonstrated to have sworn 
to lies. Linn's subterfuge is, however, un- 
worthy of credence for following reasons: 
(i) Spaulding never claimed anywhere or 
to anyone to have written more than one 
story about ancient America. (2) His wife 
refers constantly to only one — the "Manu- 
script Found." (3) His daughter, whose 
testimony has already been quoted, men- 
tions no other, though she often went 
through his papers in the old trunk and 
handled this manuscript, which, she says, 
was "about an inch thick and closely writ- 

•The Campbellite or "Disciples of Christ" 
Church was not launched till 1827. Should 
Rigdon have developed the motives of jealousy 
gratuitously imputed to him by Linn, he would 
have found it somewhat difficult to reach back 
previous to the year 1816, to get the means of 
gratifying his pique against Campbell! 

The Dictionary of Slander. 165 

166 The Mormon Point of View. 

ten." (4) Hurlbut got permission to open 
this trunk, and found but one story — the 
"Manuscript Found" — which he turned 
over to E. D Howe.* 

Any one of these reasons must seriously 
discredit Mr. Linn's theory, but here is a 
reason absolutely fatal to it: Solomon 
Spaulding not only did not, he could not, 
write the narrative of the Book of Mormon. 
It is not possible for the author of the crude 
story from which I have quoted, to have 
changed his style to one so totally unlike 
it as that of the Book of Mormon. On this 
point no bolstering by false affidavits will 
count: there are the two styles side by 
side.t The transition from one to the other 
would not have been possible, even to the 
versatility of a Shakespeare, without leav- 

•What Hurlbut was looking for was the 
story that should support the charge he had 
already made respecting the Book of Mormon: 
whence the meaning of his words, as quoted by 
Linn: "Why, if it had been the real one, I 
could have sold it for $3,000." 

fit is unlikely," comments President Fair- 
child, "tiat any one who wrote so elaborate a 
work as the Mormon Bible would spend hia 
time getting up so shallow a story as this - - 
Mr. Rice, myself, and others compared it with 
the Book of Mormon, and could detect no re- 
semblancB between the two in general or in de- 
tail. Th3re seems to be no name or incident 
common to the two. - - - - Some other ex- 
planation of the origin of the Book of Mormon 
must be found." 

The Dictionary of Slander. 167 

davits. No doubt if the notorious apostate 
is still alive, he could easily find some white- 
haired confederate who would remember 
Spaulding ; remember hearing him read this 
crude story ; remember distinctly suggesting 
to him that he write another story, entirely 
unlike it, tracing the origin of the Indians 
back' to the Israelites ; and who would, for 
a consideration, recollect "*s if it were yes- 
terday" how he visited his gifted friend a 
year or two later and listened, during the 
long winter evenings, to this new story. It 
can be done yet, Mr. Linn ; and the world is 
hungering and thirsting for just such ro- 
mance. Moreover, this is a progressive age, 
— why not trot out some fresh lies? 

Unfortunately for Linn and his cult, we 
have a sufficient arc of Mr. Spaulding's au- 
thorship to determine accurately his literary 
orbit ; and as before suggested, ten thousand 
affidavits could not bring that orbit within 
the circle of the Book of Mormon. The 
proof of this, for any sane man, is the un- 
biased reading of both books. As no scin- 
tilla of reliable evidence exists that Spaul- 
ding ever wrote another book, and as the 
proof is overwhelming that he could not, 
from sheer want of literary power, have 
written the Book of Mormon, — as, in short, 

ing some trace of similarity in name, geo- 
graphical allusion, diction, phraseology, or 
imagery. Yet this very miracle of trans- 
formation, which, as every scholar will ad- 
mit, would not be possible even to a master 
of style, Mr. Linn would have us believe 
possible to a mind all but fossilized in its 
sterile rigidity, — a style whose very senten- 
tial structure proclaims almost an entire ab- 
sence of versatility ! 

This much-exploited plagiary canard, as 
well as Linn's recent variation of it, rests 
therefore solely on the malicious invention 
of an apostate bent upon doing harm to the 
religion which had cast him out. That the 
vorld believed it «o eagerly, is explanation 
enough for the subsidiary lies with which it 
has been bolstered from time to time. Th» 
new turn which Linn gives to the slander, 
is likely to be received also with similar 
avidity; nor will it lack confirmation from 
the "makers and lovers" of a lie when it has 
had sufficient time to breed them. At pres- 
ent it seems alittle immature, — lacking even 
pin feathers to hide its nakedness. 

Mr. Linn made the mistake, moreover, of 
relying upon the affidavits of the perjured 
witnesses quoted by Howe. He should have 
engaged Hurlbut to get up some new affi- 
led The Mormon Point of View. 

there was no Spaulding's story for Rigdon 
to steal and doctor up) — I might dismiss at 
once all the correlative rubbish with which 
Linn seeks to make his new theory plausi- 

But I perceive that, driven from this 
mooring, writers of the Linn type will not 
be long, — with a million readers ready to 
gulp down any invention whatsoever against 
the Mormons, — in shifting to a position like 
this : Sidney Rigdon being of a deeply re- 
ligious turn of mind, and a clever writer* 
moreover, took his hint from Spaulding, 
and produced the Book of Mormon entire; 
palming it off on the world through Joseph 
Smith, in order the more effectually to es- 
tablish a new religion. This is really in ef- 
fect what Linn claims was done; for to in- 
ject into any hypothetical Spaulding story 
the religious coloring of the Book of Mor- 
mon, would involve the rewriting of the 
story in toto. Let us see how the theory 
works out. 

•Which, however, he was not, by any 
means, if we may judge by the fragments of 
composition he has left behind. Linn publishes 
a letter from him dated May 25, 1873, which has 
a number of errors in syntax and spelling, and 
which closes with this curious error in diction: 
"I struggle along in poverty to which I am con- 
signed." [resigned.] 

The Dictionary of Slander. 169 

170 The Mormon Point of View. 


In 1828, so we are informed by Mr. Linn, 
an important church discussion took place 
between Sidney Rigdon and Alexander 
Campbell at Warren, Ohio ; "Rigdon having 
sprung on the meeting an argument in favor 
of a community of goods," like that prevail- 
ing among the ancient saints, and Campbell 
combatting the idea and winning the audi- 
ence over to his way of thinking. On his 
way home Rigdon is quoted as saying to a 
brother: "I have done as much in this 
reformation as Campbell or Scott, and yet 
they get all the honor of it." 

"In this jealousy of the Campbells," con- 
tinues Linn, "and in the discomfiture as a 
leader which he received at their hands, we 
find a sufficient object for Rigdon's deser- 
tion of his old church associations and desire 
to build up something, the discovery of 
which he could claim, and the government 
of which he could control." 

That is to say, the motive which is to 
make him steal Spaulding's manuscript, in- 
ject into it the tenets of the Disciple theol- 
ogy, cozen Joseph Smith into acting the part 
of prophet of the new dispensation, etc., etc., 
arose in pique over being worsted in an 

The Dictionary of Slander. 171 

printing office and laid it by, — shrewd man 
that he was ! 

Here is a sample of how Linn proves ( !) 
this latter fact: "Mrs. Ellen E. Dickenson 
in a report of a talk with General and Mrs. 
Garfield on the subject, at Mentor, Ohio, in 
1880, [64 years after the alleged theft] re- 
ports Mrs. Garfield as saying 'that her fath- 
er told her that Rigdon in his youth lived in 
that neighborhod, and made mysterious vis- 
its to Pittsburg !" 

He said that Mrs. G. said that her father 
said that — ! How far can you carry water 
in a sieve of that kind? Here, is another: 
"Dr. Winter's daughter wrote to Robert 
Patterson on April 5, 1881 [65 years after 
the alleged theft] : 'I have frequently heard 
my father speak of Rigdon having Spaul- 
ding's manuscript, and that he had gotten it 
from the printer's to read as a cruiosity ; as 
such he showed it to father, and at that time 
Rigdon had no intention of making the use 
of it he afterward did." Dr. Winter's daugh- 
ter is evidently mistaken ; the idea must 
really have been lurking in his bones. Why 
else should his visits to Pittsburg have been 
"mysterious?" True, Rigdon is not a minis- 
ter yet for three years ; Campbell, who is 
to rob him of glory in a debate twelve years 

argument! And that, too, in a fold not his 
own ; for by Linn's own statement, Rigdon 
continued preaching in the Disciples' church 
at Mentor and Kirtland for two more years, 
and actually organized churches on the plan 
of owning things in common. Moreover, Mr. 
Hayden, historian of the Disciples' church, 
says of him during these years : "The uni- 
formity of his life, his undeviating devotion, 
his high and consistent manliness and super- 
iority of judgment, gave him an undisputed 
pre-eminence in the church." 

But in order to get a start, let us grant 
the motive for appropriating Spaulding's 
story and inveigling Joseph Smith from 
money digging and the low vagabond life, 
which Linn says he was leading, into setting 
up for prophet, while he, Rigdon, furnished 
the brains ! His first difficulty is to get pos- 
session of Spaulding's story. Spaulding has 
been dead twelve years, and he must now 
reach back further than that to get hold of 
it. Alas, for lost opportunities ! 

Linn gets past this difficulty by assuming 
that he has it already in his possession. 
Like a crutch, this precious manuscript was 
a handy thing to have in the house in an 
emergency and so Rigdon copied it some 
fourteen years previously in Patterson's 

172 The Mormon Point of View. 

later, is barely over from Scotland, but not 
yet cut loose from Presbyterianism ; and 
"Joe" Smith is probably "sprouting" on his 
father's clearing in Vermont. Still, the fact 
that he made "mysterious" visits to Pitts- 
burg is full of significance ! 

Was ever giddy rot like this stuffed down 
the gullets of gudgeons before? Why 
should Sidney Rigdon, a farmer's boy, be a 
"hanger-on" round a printing press in a 
remote city ? Why should he go there mys- 
teriously ? It is not claimed that he stole the 
original manuscript. Spaulding left that 
with his widow safely locked up in a trunk. 
If it was at the printer's he must have un- 
derstood that it was there to be printed. 
Why then should he copy it, knowing he 
could buy it soon in book form? If it was 
the crude, shallow manuscript that has since 
turned up — and there is no evidence that 
Spaulding ever wrote any other — what lu- 
nacy could be supposed in him to steal it? 
And if he stole it, point out one name, one 
phrase, one incident of it in the Book of 
Mormon today ! 

It will be remembered that Mr. Linn in his 
preface posed as the judicial historian. 
What sharp-nosed old granny in poke-bon- 
net and spectacles is it then that is here col- 

The Dictionary of Slander. 113 

lecting the veriest hearsay gossip of the 
second and third generation removed, to 
sustain his desperate point? 

It would be a pity, however, not to see 
what he can make of it, so let us grant that 
Spaulding wrote another story and that 
Rigdon, in his mysterious visits, copied it in 
1816, and had it by him when, in 1828, he 
was worsted by Campbell and resolved to 
get even by setting up a rival religion. 

It is not contended that Rigdon began 
doctoring Spaulding's manuscript till after 
this tilt with Campbell in 1828 — there would 
have been no motive for it. After that, it 
must have taken time — months at least — to 
recast the secular story so as to saturate it 
with Disciple theology — and this theology, 
it must be remembered, is one of the strong 
reasons put forward by Linn for Rigdon's 
authorship. But Joseph Smith claims to 
have received the Gold Plates from the An- 
gel on September 22, 1827, and to have cop- 
ied and translated some of the characters in 
December; while Martin Harris actually 
made his memorable visit to Prof. Anthon 
with them the following February. 

"Mr. Harris returned to my house about 
the 12th of April, 1828," writes Joseph 
Smith, "and commenced writing for me 

The Dictionary of Slander. 175 

the living room of his home. It is impossi- 
ble that his wife and four children, one of 
whom was ten years old, should not have 
been privy to the secret, and every visitor 
to the house would have guessed it ; so that 
when he deserted the Campbellite fold, the 
truth would have been disclosed and pub- 
lished far and wide. 

But no such evidence can be found. Linn 
quotes two hearsay testimonies, years after 
the event, that Rigdon knew the Book of 
Mormon was coming forth ; but any one liv- 
ing where he did might have known that, 
for it was no secret that Joseph had received 
the Plates and was translating them. Again 
he quotes Rigdon as having said in 1830 
that "it was time for a new religion to 
spring up." He probably referred to Camp- 
bellism, which was not so definitely estab- 
lished as to be an old religion. 

No matter how this theory is turned over, 
it fails to hold water. Look at these incon- 
sistencies, for instance: Rigdon chafes at 
second place under Campbell, a noted re- 
ligious philosopher, yet voluntarily chooses 
second place under a "disreputable money- 
digger" (sic, Linn) and his own cat's paw; 
he quarrels with Campbell over the church 
holding things in common and is allowed 

174 The Mormon Point of View. 

while I translated from the Plates, which 
we continued until the 14th of June follow- 
ing, by which time we had written one hun- 
dred and sixteen pages of manuscript, on 
foolscap paper." Hardly time, — was there? 
— for Rigdon to round up his plot and get 
it into the harness! 

But difficulties increase the moment you 
attempt to conceive Rigdon's part in getting 
out the Book of Mormon. Is it thinkable 
that he could have had this manuscript by 
him, with no obligation to secrecy, for 
twelve years, yet no one of his flock or fel- 
low ministers ever see it ? Could he now set 
about the tremendous work of reshaping or 
rewriting or composing outright, if you will, 
the 350,000 words of the Book of Mormon, 
and go on smoothly with his pastoral work in 
two or three towns at the same time, and 
yet none of his intimates be aware of it? 
Unaccustomed to literary effort, he would 
be a long time getting into working shape, 
but allowing an average of 2,000 words a 
day, — a heavy record even for a facile writer, 
— it would take over six months of week- 
days without a break, to complete the task. 
Where could he have hidden the secret of 
his work during that time? Being a poor 
man he would necessarily have to write in 

176 The Mormon Point of View. 

to have his way in his own congregations, 
yet he now goes over to a new religion 
which does not recognize this pet innova- 
tion; with the Disciples he is counted a 
great man and receives a salary, yet he takes 
up with Mormonism at a sacrifice of that 
salary, and under the penalty of ostracism—^ 
all for pique ! Talk about Mormon credu- 
lity ! Who is doing the alligator act here ? 
Thus far I have dealt only with Mr. 
Linn's own facts, and they have proved so 
utterly inadequate to support his theory, 
that I might well rest my case without con- 
sidering the evidence on the Mormon side at 
all. For have we not seen that from four 
successive dilemmas, anyone of which would 
prove fatal to his theory, Mr. Linn was 
permitted to escape, just to give his reason- 
ing a chance to be aired? Only to see him 
treed at last by the fact that he brings in 
his puppet one year too late with copy ! 


Listen now to the simple, unimpeachable 
facts in the career of Sidney Rigdon : Born 
February 19, 1793, of parents whose fore- 
fathers, three generations previously, came 
from Great; Britain, he passed his youth and 

The Dictionary of Slander. 177 

earlv manhood on his father's farm at St. 
Clair township, Alleghany county, Pennsyl- 
vania. In his twenty-fifth year he joined 
the "Regular Baptists," and the next year 
(March, 1819) left the farm and made his 
home with the Rev. Andrew Clark, Baptist 
minister at Pittsburg — too late by three 
years to meet Spaulding. Here he took out 
his minister's license, and in May following 
moved to Trumbull county, Ohio, where he 
met Phebe Brook, to whom he was married 
June 12, 1820. 

Having in the meanwhile attained to some 
celebrity as a preacher, he received a call 
from the Baptist society of Pittsburg, and 
became their regular minister in February, 
1822. But misgivings began to arise as to 
many tenets held by this sect — especially as 
to the baptism of infants — which led him 
to retire from the ministry in August, 1824, 
and take up the tanning business in connec- 
tion with his brother-in-law, Richard Brook. 

During the two years that he worked at 
this trade, he often met and conversed with 
Alexander Campbell and Walter Scott, min- 
isters also dissatisfied with their creeds. The 
result was eventually the founding, in 1827, 
of a new society, the "Disciples of Christ," 

%he Dictionary of Slander. 170 

don's alleged authorship of the Book of 
Mormon, and mastership in the founding of 

Rigdon's conversion was on this wise: 
Four Elders — Parley P. Pratt, Oliver Cow- 
dery, Peter Whitmer, Jr., and Ziba Peter- 
son — had been called on a mission to carry 
the Book of Mormon to the Lamanites, that 
is, to the American Indians, descendants of 
the Lamanites. They first called on a tribe 
near Buffalo. Their route next brought 
them into the very heart of the region where 
Campbellism had taken so strong a foot- 
hold since its organization three years pre- 
vious. Says the Prophet Joseph Smith in 
his Autobiography: 

"The first house at which they called In the 
vicinity of Kirtland was Mr. Rigdon's; and 
after the usual salutations, they presented him 
with the Book of Mormon, stating that it was a 
revelation from God. This being the first time 
he had ever heard of or seen the Book of Mor- 
mon, he felt very much surprised at the asser- 
tion, and replied that he had the Bible, which 
he believed was a revelation from God, and 
with which he pretended to have some ac- 
quaintance; but with respect to the book they 
had presented him, he must say that he had 
considerable doubt. Upon this they expressed 
a desire to investigate the subject, and argue 
the matter. But he replied, 'No, young gentle- 
men, you must not argue with me on the sub- 
ject; but I will read your book and see what 

178 The Mormon Point of View. 

whose professed rule of faith was a return 
to the simple doctrines of Christ as set forth 
in Scripture, — faith in God, repentance of 
sins, baptism by immersion for the remission 
of sins, holiness of life, a godly walk and 
conversation, — untrammeled by credal inter- 
pretation. Rigdon began preaching the new 
doctrines in 1826, and was so successful that 
he soon had large followings in Mentor, 
Bainbridge, Kirtland, and many of the sur- 
rounding townships. 

It was here, at Mentor, four years later, 
while in the zenith of his popularity and in 
full fellowship with Campbell — Linn to the 
contrary* — that Mormonism found and 
claimed him. That is to say, it was late in 
the fall of 1830, nine months after the Book 
of Mormon was printed, and six or seven 
months after the Church had been organ- 
ized, and when the membership had grown 
to about ninety souls. So much for Rig- 

•The remark attributed by Linn to Rigdon 
after the Warren controversy, as well as the 
fact of the controversy itself, is substantiated 
by no authority save Linn, and is therefore in 
all probability a gratuitous invention for the 
sake of getting up a case. But if you suppose 
it to be a real expression, it counts only for on» 
of those straws of vexation with his brother 
which float in the current of every minister's 
life. There is no proof that there were any but 
amicable feelings between Rigdon and Camp- 
bell till after the former accepted Mormonism. 

180 The Mormon Point of View. 

claims it has upon my faith, and will endeavor 
to ascertain whether it be a revelation from God 
or not.' " 

That evening they held a. meeting in the 
Disciples' chapel. Rigdon was deeply im- 
pressed, as were also a great number of 
his congregation. "The information they 
had received that evening was of an extra- 
ordinary character," said Rigdon in conclu- 
sion, "and certainly demanded their most 
serious consideration. As the apostle ad- 
vised his brethren to 'prove all things, and 
hold fast that which was good,' so he would 
exhort his brethren to do likewise . . . 
lest they should possibly resist the truth." 

For two weeks the Elders continued their 
labors among the Disciples, and whenever 
they dropped in on Sidney Rigdon, "they 
found him very earnestly reading the Book 
of Mormon — praying to the Lord for direc- 
tion, and meditating on the things he heard 
and read." There happened consequently 
what always happens — what the Book of 
Mormon promises shall happen * to him 

•"Behold I would exhort you that when ye 
shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God 
that ye should read them, that .... ye would 
ask God, the eternal Father, in the name of 
Christ, if these things are not true; and If ye 
shall ask with a sincere heart, with real Intent, 
having faith in Christ, he will manifest the 
truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy 
Ghost." Moroni, 10: 2-3. 

The Dictionary of Slander. 18 J 

182 The Mormon Point of View. 

who seeks the truth of Mormonism with 
undivided soul: he received a testimony 
direct from God, so that he could exclaim 
with Peter: "Flesh and blood hath not re- 
vealed it unto me but my Father which is 
in heaven." 

The immediate consequence was, that 
Rigdon recognized himself as without divine 
authority; and so both he and his wife were 
baptized into the church, — perhaps in the 
early part of December, "In two or three 
weeks from our arrival in the neighbor- 
hood," writes Elder Pratt, "we had baptized 
one hundred and twenty-seven souls ; and 
this number [under the ministry of Sidney 
Rigdon, John Murdock, Isaac Morley, Ly- 
man Wight, and Edward Partridge, whom 
the Elders ordained to carry on the work] 
soon increased to one thousand." 

To the reader who is reluctant to believe 
that Rigdon's conversion was by a divine 
testimony, there are certain predisposing 
circumstances which may vet show that it 
was honest and genuine, and not feigned for 
purposes of rascality, as Linn intimates. In 
the first place, the man who brought the 
message was a dear friend and confidant. 
Parley P. Pratt had been sometime a pupil, 
then a convert, then a fellow-minister in the 

The Dictionary of Slander. 183 

short, swallowed up the truths of Campbell- 
ism as the ocean does the river. Rigdon 
saw all this with the eye of faith, and it con- 
firmed his testimony ; Campbell saw it with 
the eye of distrust and hatred, and so it 
served only to embitter him the more.* 

As final disproof of Rigdon's authorship 
of the Book of Mormon, I present herewith 
passages from a manuscript "Life of Sidney 
Rigdon," written by his son, John W. Rig- 
don, and quoted by Roberts in his new His- 
tory of the Church. The reader should first 
be informed that Rigdon, failing in his am- 
bition to be President of the Church after 
the Prophet's death, withdrew from the 
body of the Saints on their exodus to the 
Rocky mountains, tried to build up the 
church anew at Pittsburg, and, failing, re- 
tired to Friendship, Alleghany county, 
New York, where he died in 1876. 

•In his "Delusions: an Aanlysis of the Book 
of Mormon," Campbell says: "He [the author] 
decides all the great controversies: infant bap- 
tism, the Trinity, regeneration, repentance, Jus- 
tification, the fall of man, the atonement, tran- 
substantiatlon, fasting, penance, church gov- 
ernment, the call to the ministry, the general 
resurrection, eternal punishments, who may 
baptize, and even the questions of Free mason- 
ry, republican government, and the rights of 
man." In the item of Free masonry, Mr. Camp- 
bell's hate spills over a little. For the rest, the 
list is pretty accurate, but by no means com- 

Reformed Baptist society, under Rigdon. 
His words would consequently have peculiar 

In the next place, Rigdon had cut loose 
from sects and creeds, and was ardently 
contending for the "faith once delivered to 
the Saints." To him the idea of new revela- 
tion would, in consequence, be quite in keep- 
ing with the spirit of the scriptures. Why 
should not man in this day enjoy commun- 
ion with God by heavenly messengers as did 
the ancient saints? And when we remem- 
ber that his conscientiousness compelled him 
to retire from the ministry in 1824, until 
such time as he had greater light, it is easy 
to understand how his heart at once became 
friendly, and his intellect gave unbiased 
consideration to the new message. 

There was lastly the striking — though very 
natural — fact that Mormonism offered no 
essential clash with the elementary tenets of 
Campbellism. It was not that the Book of 
Mormon merely paralleled the doctrines 
which Rigdon, Scott, and Campbell had so 
admirably drawn from the New Testament: 
it illumined them, made clear and definite 
what the Bible left vague, bridged scriptural 
contradictories, gave infinite perspective to 
what was fragmentary and disjointed, — in 

184 The Mormon Point of View. 

John W. Rigdon visited Utah in 1863 with 
a view to studying Mormonism. He was 
not favorably impressed, and among other 
things, came to the conclusion that the Book 
of Mormon itself was a fraud. According- 
ly, he determined, on returning home, to 
sift thoroughly his father's alleged part in 
getting it up. 

"You have been charged with writing that 
book and giving it to Joseph Smith to intro- 
duce to the world. You have always told me 

one story Is this true? If so, all 

right, if not you owe it to me and to your family 
to tell it. You are an old man and will soon 
pass away, and I wish to know if Joseph Smith 
in your intimacy with him for fourteen years, 
has not said something to you to lead you to 
believe that he obtained that book in some 
other way than what he had told you. . . . 
My father looked at me a moment, raised his 
hand above his head and slowly said, with tears 
glistening in his eyes: 'My son, I can swear be- 
fore high heaven, that what I have told you 
about the origin of that book Is true. Your 
mother and sister, Mrs. Athalia Robinson, were 
present when that book was handed to me in 
Mentor, Ohio, and all I ever knew about that 
book was what Parley P. Pratt, Oliver Cow- 
dery, Joseph Smith and the witnesses told me; 
and in all my intimacy with Joseph Smith, he 
never told me but the one story . . . and I 
have never, to you or to any one else, told but 
the one story, and that I repeat to you.' I be- 
lieved him, and still believe he told me the 

The Dictionary of Slander. 185 

Mr. Rigdon also gives testimony from 
his mother, just previous to her death, cor- 
roborating that of his father, and an affida- 
vit of his sister, Mrs. Athalia Robinson, who 
was ten years old at the time Rigdon joined 
the Church, and who testifies to the visit of 
the Elders and of Parley P. Pratt's handing 
her father a copy of the Book of Mormon, 
saying it was a revelation from God. There 
seems to be really no grounds whatever for 
connecting Rigdon with the Book of Mor- 
mon, save the desperate need of anti-Mor- 
mons to account for it somehow in conso- 
nance with a fixed notion that Mormonism 
is a false religion. Needless to say, they are 
doomed to failure by the Rigdon hypothesis. 
In the meanwhile, the Book of Mormon is 
still here, and the field is open for new ro- 
mancers to try their hand. 


In seeking to vitiate the testimony of the 
witnesses to the Book of Mormon, Mr. Linn 

•The witnesses to the Gold Plates were as 
follows: (1) the three special witnesses to 
whom the angel showed them, — Oliver Cowdery, 
David Whitmer, Martin Harris; (2) the eight 
witnesses to whom Joseph Smith showed them, 
—Christian, Jacob, Peter, and John Whitmer, 
Joseph Smith, Sen., Hyrum Smith, and Samuel 
H. Smith; (3) the Prophet, his mother, and Mrs. 
Whitmer, which last I include on the testimony 
of her son David. 

The Dictionary of Slander. 187 

Linn finds among the early inventions at- 
tributed to Joseph Smith. He quotes from 
a letter written by Hiel and Joseph Lewis of 
Harmony in 1879, fifty years after the event, 
to James T. Cobb of Salt Lake City. 

"This statement, in effect, was that he 
[Joseph] dreamed of an iron box containing 
gold plates curiously engraved which he must 
translate into a book; that twice when he at- 
tempted to secure the plates he was knocked 
down, and when he asked why he could not 
have them, 'he saw a man standing over the 
spot who, to him, appeared like a Spaniard, 
having a long beard down over his breast with 
his throat cut from ear to ear and the blood 
streaming down, who told him that he could 
not get it alone.' He then narrated how he got 
the box in company with Emma. 'In all this 
narrative there was not one word about visions 
of God, or of angels, or heavenly revelations; 
all his information was by that dream and that 
bleeding ghost. The heavenly visions and mes- 
sages of angels, etc., contained in the Mormon 
books were after-thoughts, revised to order." 

Mr. Linn actually credits this story, as 
will be indicated by the following comment : 

"We may now contrast these early ac- 
counts of the disclosure with the version given 
in the Prophet's autobiography (written, be it 
remembered, In Nauvoo in 1838), the one ac- 
cepted by all orthodox Mormons. One of its 
striking features will be found to be the trans- 
formation of the Spaniard — with-his-throat-cut 
Into a messenger from heaven." 

That is to say, Mr. Linn would have the 
reader believe that not until Sidney Rigdon 
came into the Church to shape and unify its 
teachings, did the story of the Book of Mor- 

186 The Mormon Point of View. 

seems guided occasionally more by hate than 
by craftiness. Instead of discriminating 
with the judgment of a lawyer, in his choice 
of slander, throwing out that which mani- 
festly defeats itself, he lays it all on, no mat- 
ter how or by whom it is brought. His 
question is not : Is this effective mud ? only : 
Is it mud? 

Five of the fourteen witnesses who beheld 
the Plates were directly of the Smith fam- 
ily ; viz., the Prophet, his father and mother, 
and his brothers Hyrum and Samuel. In 
order to discredit these, Linn prepared the 
way, as we have seen, by quoting liberally 
from the slanders which Hurlbut the apos- 
tate gathered against the whole family, and 
which Howe published and fathered; slan- 
ders of which, aside from their disproof in 
the first number of this magazine, it is suffi- 
cient to say that Hurlbut collected them. 
Against the Prophet himself Linn brings 
stories which, to say the least, discredits his 
judgment as a historian. 

No particular is more common, for in- 
stance, in the fabulous accounts of treasure 
buried by the buccaneers, than that it is 
guarded by bloody wraith or ghost of sailor 
murdered for that purpose. This very 
cheap and conventional explanation, Mr. 

188 The Mormon Point of View. 

mon take its present form. It is in such 
suggestions that Linn shows the weakness 
of pure malevolence. Could the Prophet's 
parents and brothers and sisters and the 
Whitmers have been made to give up Pres- 
byterianism and join the new Church, with 
such a tale? There were at least ninety 
souls baptized before Sidney Rigdon came 
into the Church. Were these converted by 
a "bloody ghost" story? The simple fact 
is that from the date of his first vision in 
1820, and continuously thereafter, the 
Prophet told one consistent, undeviating 
story — a fact which contemporaneous rec- 
ords abundantly prove. Under no other 
circumstances could he have made converts 
Qf people intimately acquainted with all the 
secrets of his life. Another example of the 
depths of fatuity into which hate led this 
judicial ( !) historian is a reproduction of the 
following affidavit from the Hurlbut-Howe 
collection. Comment is unnecessary: 

"One day he came and greeted me with Joy- 
ful countenance [so one Ingersoll is made to 
sayj. Upon asking the cause of his unusual 
happiness, he replied In the following language: 
'As I was passing yesterday across the woods, 
after a heavy shower of rain, I found in a hol- 
low some beautiful white sand that had been 
washed up by the water. I took off my frock 
and tied up several quarts of It, and then went 
home. At that moment I happened to think 
about a history found in Canada, called a 

The Dictionary of Slander. 189 

Golden Bible; so I very gravely told them It 
was the Golden Bible. To my surprise they 
were credulous enough to believe what I said. 
Accordingly I told them I had received a com- 
mandment to let no one see it, (or, says I, no 
man can see it with the natural eye and live. 
However, I offered to take out the book and 
show it to them, but they refused to see it and 
left the room. Now,' said Joe, 'I've got the 
d — d fools fixed, and will carry out the fun.' " 

Respecting the witnesses to whom the 
Angel Moroni showed the Plates, Mr. Linn 
has this to say: "Surely if any three men 
in the Church should remain steadfast, 
mighty pillars of support for the Prophet in 
his future troubles, it should be these chosen 
witnesses to the actual existence of the 
Golden Plates. Yet every one of them be- 
came an apostate, and every one of them 
was loaded with all the opprobrium that the 
Church could pile upon him." 

Yet had they remained faithful to the 
Church, what would have been Mr. Linn's 
comment? Would he not have said: "Of 
course ; could you expect anything else from 
men who consented to remain the tools of 
an unscrupulous hierarchy? These men 
have everything to gain and nothing to lose 
by maintaining their false testimony!" 
Clearly, so far as the existence of the Plates 
is concerned, the evidence could not be 
made stronger than by their turning away 
from the Church and still remaining true, as 

190 The Mormon Point of View. 

they did, to their testimony. The tempta- 
tion to injure the Church by recanting, must, 
at a certain period in the life of each, have 
been very strong; yet the conviction that 
they had actually seen and handled the 
plates remained stronger still.* 

Let us now look into the source of this 
undeviating conviction. Our first enquiry 
is in relation to what made it so strong. 

After receiving the Plates, September 22, 
1827, Joseph Smith, was compelled to leave 
Manchester, New York, on account of re- 
peated attempts to steal them, — Martin Har- 
ris having given him fifty dollars by the as- 
sistance of which he reached Harmony, 
Pennsylvania. Here in December he copied 
and translated some of the characters, which 
Mr. Harris in February, 1828, took to Pro- 
fessor Anthon in New Yoik. The necessity 
of making a living prevented the Prophet 

•Linn's efforts at breaking down their tes- 
timony is rather lame. He cites a violent tirade 
against Oliver Cowdery's wickedness by Sid- 
ney Rigdon, and the fact that Martin Harris is 
called a "wicked man" In one of the revelations. 
Against David Whitmer, he can find nothing; 
though he might have quoted the testimony of 
twenty-one leading citizens of Richmond. Mo., 
most of them civil officers, that he was a "man 
of the highest" Integrity, and of undoubted truth 
and veracity." Harris and Cowdery repented 
of the vanity and rashness which led them out 
of the Church, and in deepest humility came 
back to the fold before their death. 

The Dictionary of Slander. 191 

from doing more, until April 12, when the 
work of translation began in earnest, and 
lasted till June 14, Harris acting as scribe. 
The result was one hundred and sixteen 
pages of foolscap manuscript, which Martin 
was permitted to take home as a means of 
convincing his wife, and which was stolen 
from him, and never recovered. 

Through sheer need of having to work 
for bread, and also because of being with- 
out a scribe, Joseph did not resume the 
translation till April 5, 1829, when Oliver 
Cowdery became his scribe. The work con- 
tinued under this arrangement till the fol- 
lowing June, Joseph dictating, and Oliver 
recording. The timely arrival, at this stage, 
of David Whitmer, generously offering to 
board and lodge them at his father's home in 
Fayette, N. Y., while the work was going 
on, prevented another lay off, and so the 
translation was completed by the beginning 
of July, 1829. 

"I, as well as all of my father's family.'* 
writes an interviewer of David Whitmer in the 
Kansas City Journal, June 5, 1881, "Smith's 
wife, Oliver Cowdery, and Martin Harris were 
present during the translation. The transla- 
tion was by Smith and the manner was as fol- 
lows: He had two small stones of a chocolate 
color, nearly egg-shape, and perfectly smooth, 
but not transparent, called interpreters, which 
were given him with the plates. He did not use 
the plates in the translation, but would hold the 

192 The Mormon Point of View. 

interpreters to his eyes, and cover his face with 
a hat, excluding all light, and before his eyes 
would appear what seemed to be parchment, 
on which would appear the characters of the 
plates in a line at the top and immediately be- 
low would appear the translation in English, 
which Smith would read to his scribe, who 
wrote it down as it fell from his lips. The 
scribe would then read the sentence written 
and If any mistake had been made, the charac- 
ters would remain visible to Smith until cor- 
rected, when they faded from sight to be re- 
placed by another line"* 

Consider now the bearing of the facts be- 
fore us. Here were nine of the fourteen 
witnesses — eight beside the prophet ; viz, the 
five Whitmer boys, their mother, Martin 
Harris, and Oliver Cowdery, — listening day 
after day, for a month, to the story of the 
Book of Mormon as it grew under the dic- 
tation of a young man with his face buried 
in a hat. Talk about Rigdon or any one 
else furnishing the manuscript! There was 
absolutely no room here for chicanery. Jo- 
seph Smith either composed the Book of 
Mormon out-right, or it was revealed to him, 

•Joseph Smith has not, to my knowledge, 
loft any explanation of the modus operandi of 
translating. The above must therefore be taken 
with the usual allowance for the personal equa- 
tion of the reporter, — especially in that detail 
about the parchment with its double series of 
characters. Martin Harris confirms the report 
In part: "By aid of the seer stone [the Prophet 
seems to have used the seer stone and the Urim 
and Thummim interchangeably], sentences 
would appear .... and if correctly written. 

would disapepar if not It would re- 

muin until corrected." 

The Dictionary of Slander. 


194 The Mormon Point of View. 

sentence by sentence, as he says. Cowdery 
and Harris had each sat listening and writ- 
ing for three months under similar circum- 
stances. How could experience be more 
exacting. — more likely to produce a con- 
viction which nothing afterward in life 
could efface? 

The only question now was the actual see- 
ing of the Plates — the original of that which 
they had listened to for months. "It was 
in June, 1829, the latter part of the month," 
says David Whitmer, referring to the time 
when the three witnesses saw the Plates, 
"and the eight witnesses saw them the next 
day or the day afterward. Joseph showed 
them the plates himself, but the Angel 
showed us [the three witnesses] the plates, 
as I suppose to fulfil the words of the book 
itself. Martin Harris was not with us at 
this time ; he obtained a view of them after- 
wards, the same day." 

"Joseph, Oliver and myself," continues David 
Whitmer, "were together when I saw them. 
We not only saw the plates of the Book of Mor- 
mon, but also the brass plates, the plates of the 
Book of Ether, the plates containing the records 
of the wickedness and the secret combinations 
of the people of the world down to the time of 
their being engraved, and many other plates. 
The fact is, it was Just as though Joseph, Oli- 
ver and I were sitting Just here on a log, when 
we were overshadowed by a light. It was not 
like the light of the sun, nor like that of a fire, 
but more beautiful. It extended away around 

The Dictionary of Slander. 195 

ness to the truth of what I have said, for now 
they know for themselves that I do not go 
about to deceive the people, and I feel as if I 
was relieved of a burden which was almost too 
heavy for nr; to bear, and it rejoices my soul 
that I am not any longer to be entirely alone in 
the world.' Upon this Martin Harris came In. 
He seemed almost overcome with Joy, and testi- 
fied boldly to what he had both seen and heard. 
And so did David and Oliver, adding that no 
tongue could express the Joy of their hearts 
and the greatness of the things which they had 
both seen and heard." 

The attempt to show that the witnesses 
could be mistaken fails from the simple na- 
ture, and the long-continued observation, of 
the facts involved; the attempt to break 
down their veracity is equally futile; they 
were honest men, though subject to temp- 
tations and sin like other mortals. Account 
for them as you may, the facts concerning 
the coming forth of the Book of Mormon 
are still there, and the world must face them 
squarely ; for they can neither be ignored 
nor explained away. 

"In an historical inquiry of this kind," 
remarks Linn, when confronted with the 
meager and contradictorv data to support 
his theory of Rigdon's authorship of the 
Book of Mormon, "it is more important to 
establish the fact that a certain thing was 
done than to prove just how or when it was 
done." If this maxim holds water for Linn, 
it ought also to do so for me. The thing 

us, I cannot tell how far, but In the midst of 
this light about as far off as he sits, (pointing 
to John C. Whitmer sitting a few feet from 
him), there appeared, as it were, a table with 
many records or plates upon It, besides the 
plates of the Book of Mormon, also the sword 
of Laban, the directors (1. e. the ball which 
Lehi had) and the interpreters. I saw them just 
as plainly as I see this bed (striking the bed 
beside him with his hand), and I heard the 
voice of the Lord, as distinctly as I have ever 
heard anything in my life, declaring that the 
records of the plates were translated by the 
gift and power of God." 

Reverting, then, to my purpose in recit- 
ing these facts, I may remark that the events 
observed by the Three Witnesses, from the 
inception of the translation to the culmina- 
tion set forth in the above extract, were so 
palpable, that they could neither deny nor 
forget them. It remained only that they 
be honest men to account for their undeviat- 
ing testimony, even when they themselves 
fell from grace. As evidence corroborative 
of the story told by the Three Witnesses, I 
quote the recollections of Lucy Smith, 
mother of the Prophet, respecting the oc- 
currences of that remarkable day. 

"When they [the witnesses] returned to the 
house, it was between three and four o'clock p. 
m. Mrs. Whitmer, Mr. Smith and myself were 
sitting in the bed room at the time. On coming 
in, Joseph threw himself down beside me, and 
exclaimed: 'Father, mother, you do not know 
how happy I am; the Lord has caused the 
Plates to be shown to three more besides my- 
self. They have seen an angel, who has testi- 
fied to them, and they will have to bear wlt- 

196 The Mormon Point of View. 

here absolutely established as "done," was 
the dictation of the Book of Mormon by 
Joseph Smith, the while his eyes were cov- 
ered in the darkness of a hat. The "when" 
is equally established beyond controversy. 
The "how" admits of the alternatives I 
have pointed out. Either Joseph Smith re- 
cited from memory or invented outright the 
350,000 words composing the record, or he 
received assistance from some supernatural 

The memorizing hypothesis may be dis- 
missed at once; for if we could suppose 
such a feat possible for a raw, unlettered 
youth, there would yet be the problem of 
escaping detection while in the act of coach- 
ing himself, with a score of sceptical eyes 
watching his every movement. As to his 
invention of the book, no one who has read 
it will hold that view a moment. The diffi- 
culty was no whit less than would be the 
invention of the Bible outright ; and so that 
hypothesis also may be laid down. There 
remains then only the last alternative: the 
Book of Mormon was revealed to him. The 
positive evidence of this fact I have set 
forth in part; the difficulties in the way of 
accepting it, are considered in the leading 
article of this number. 



A Quarterly Magazine, owned ami edited by .V. L. Xelson. 
Professor of English, Urigham Young Unnerxily. Price. 
$l.ub a year; tingle copies. We. Entered in the Postoffice at 
Provo City, Utah, as second-class matter. 

Vol. I. 

Provo City, Utah, July 1, IP04. 

No. a, 


A favorite piece of advice by President 
Brimhall to students who desire to know how 
best to continue the intellectual life after 
they leave school, is that which I have made 
the caption of this short article. "Read up- 
hill, young man, if you want to keep grow- 

Of course the young man ponders often 
and deeply before he fathoms the full sig- 
nificance of this peculiarly forceful meta- 
phor. Read up-hill, — that is something he 
cannot do, if he read only the newspaper. 
At best he is reading along the dead level, 
with many a moral slough and social quag- 
mire to cross. He gains nothing in mental 
vigor, because there are no mental lifts for 
him to make ; or if there are, they bore him, 
such is the vitiating tendency of skimming 
for mere surface interest, and of moving 
from point to point, butterfly-like, before the 
mind has time to get down to underlying 

It) 3 The Mormon Point of View. 

Nor are the contents of a newspaper to be 
swallowed entire, any more than the wares 
in a green grocer's market. They are to be 
selected, prepared, served to taste, chewed, 
and digested, if they are to build up the 
intellectual life. The man who feeds indis- 
criminately on the columns of a daily paper 
is the man who throws down the gates of 
'"his individuality and makes of his mind a 
•common road for all the moving things of 
earth. His only reward, if reward it can 
be called, is to stand passively by gaping 
at the motley procession, while it tramps 
into the ground the choice private gardens 
of his soul. 

"Read up-hill, young man." This no man 
can do, if every new accession to his library 
be a novel. Barring a few great works of 
fiction which are analytical studies of the 
soul, it is safe to say that reading novels is 
reading down-hill ; it is a relaxing of mental 
tension, without which there can be no 
growth of mind-power, and sliding down 
the incline of morbid sentiment to shadowy 
plains of unreality where even feeling itself 
becomes colorless. 

The habitual novel-reader is a mental 
dyspeptic, whose appetite is tempted only 
"by literary caramels and strongly seasoned 
-newspaper hash. There is really no easier 
way to get into the comfortable circle of 
mental mediocrity than to become a devotee 
«f popular fiction. No ambition disturbs 
you, save the desire to shine in parlor par- 

" Learn to Read Up-Hill." 199 

ties, and you acquire a mental calibre best 
described as the "smooth bore'' a calibre 
well fitted for bird shot and other small 
ideas of that kind, which may be fired with- 
out accuracy of aim, and mainly for the 
noise and smoke. 

The school that does not engraft the 
habit of reading up-hill has failed to reach 
the inner life of the student ; failed to create 
that "hunger and thirst after righteousness," 
— that insatiable craving to fathom the 
meaning and trend of life — which is ever a 
prerequisite to being "blessed." On the 
other hand, he in whom this hunger and 
thirst have been created, has little further 
need of the school: books are his college, 
and the world itself his university. No 
fear that library trash will detain him; for 
reading on the dead level bores him, while 
reading down-hill nauseates. His pleasure 
consists in the effort necessary to climb, 
quite as much as in the exhilaration which 
always follows from looking at life from 
a higher point of view. 

And he shall be further blessed; for be- 
fore him rise the shining heights where 
dwell apart the spirits of Shakespeare and 
Milton, Paul and the Beloved Disciple — all 
the masters of deep thought and classic ex- 
pression ; and these he shall associate with, 
not in the vulgar fashion which, because 
it appreciates little, finds it necessary to 
boast much, but in the true communion of 
soul with soul, — too sacred a relationship to 

200 The Mormon Point of View. 

dress up vanity in. Moreover, he shall in 
time be blessed with discernment of spirits ; 
so that before he shall read a hundred 
lines, he shall be able to judge unerringly 
whether his author be a thought artist or 
merely a literary tailor. 

Reading up-hill involves two things : reading 
the right kind of books, and reading them in 
the proper way. As to the first, this rule may 
be set down as infallible: Only such books are 
wholesome as tend to help us understand, 
appreciate, and react by truth relations 
upon, our environments ; all others are 
false and pernicious, however charming they 
may seem. Let the reader take up book by 
book in his library and square its contents 
with this principle, — taking care to include 
under environments all the real forces, 
spiritual or otherwise, which play upon his 
soul, — and then agree or disagree with me. 
Space compels me to drop the question here. 

As to reading in the right way, I shall 
touch upon only one aspect, that of making 
constant use of a dictionary. Has it ever 
occurred to the reader that perfect thought- 
communication is possible only where 
giver and receiver hold in common, thought 
symbols — that is to say, words — of exactly 
the same signification? But how rarely is 
this the case! And to the extent that our 
words have different weight, color, or psy- 
chic associations, to that extent we fail to 
give or receive the equivalent of other men's 
thoughts and ideas. 

'Learn to Read Up-HilL' 


202 The Mormon Point of View. 

If now every man and woman had access 
to a thought bank, — a sort of clearing 
house for thought- symbols, — where his 
words could be reweighed and stamped 
anew with their just and true signification, 
then we should gradually get rid of our 
misunderstandings, and come to a delight- 
ful sense of intellectual unity. Such a bank 
is any good standard dictionary — that 
priceless repository of accurate ideas, that 
peerless peace-maker among the war of 
words. Let the farmer sell his last cow, if 
need be, to place this golden key to the 
world's treasures of literature, — this un- 
erring guide in the world's wilderness of 
books —into the hands of his growing son 
or daughter. 

And let them use it incessantly. The fact 
that it is absent in nine-tenths of the 
honies of Latter-day Saints* has resulted 
in a popular -vocabulary among us, which, 
measured by the canons of a pure diction, 
must be characterized as slip-shod and 
wishy-washy. But the worst fault induced 
by its deplorable absence, is the vicious hab- 
it of guessing at the meaning of words, or 
being content to miss the force of an entire 
passage, because it does not yield to the 
first mental effort. 

• I refer to dictionaries of the type of Webster's In- 
ternational. The statement would be true, I believe, 
even if I should come down to the next size, the Aca- 
demic or Student's dictionary— a most lamentable 
faot. Primary school dictionaries are of little worth 
la researches above the district school level of Ideas. 

Think how our gardens would look, if 
they were weeded on this plan ; our parlors, 
if they were swept by such a rule; our 
farms, if they were cultivated on this 
shabby principle! But then, getting vague 
and misty meanings to words merely crip- 
ples the soul — a worthless appurtenance 
compared with those other things, to which 
we devote such care and accuracy ! 

Let me come now directly to .my r.wn 
grievance. Word reaches me from various 
sources that my magazine is too "deep," 
my ideas expresed in phraseology too 
difficult, for the ordinary reader. I grieve 
to think that there may be much truth in 
this complaint; but I grieve for the "ordin- 
ary reader," not for the writer. The latter 
I have in hand, and know how it some- 
times takes hours and hours of intensest 
thought to get even a few short para- 
graphs into logical sequence and graphic 
form. Then when I look them over, and 
see the unusual words here and there, I 
think of the 'ordinary reader' and his piti- 
ful mental indolence. If I can throw in a 
suggestive phrase to help him, I do so, 
knowing his reluctance to go to the diction- 
ary; but I cannot and will not reduce the 
whole thing down to thin soup once more, 
to suit his watery mental digestion. I let 
it go, in the hope that it may prove a tonic 
to his undisciplined mind. 

To take an instance in point, read this 
sentence from the last number, page 151: 

"Learn to Read Up-HilL" 20 JI 

"The reader will probably agree with me, 
then, that looked at from the human point 
of view, the untrammclcd mind of Joseph, 
Smith was a better medium for God's pur- 
posed iconoclasm, than would have been 
the mind of any other man with a hundred 
times the mental polish, yet lacking the 
necessary plasticity." 

Don't imagine that I didn't look twice 
at the words I have put in italics, and 
measure the distress they were likely ta 
occasion in the "ordinary reader." But 
there was no help for it. The sentence was 
a swift summing up of a course of rea- 
soning, and ought to carrv its meaning, if 
only by suggestion. Then the thought 
came : Perhaps a reader here and there 
will go to the dictionary, and how richly 
he will be rewarded by the mind-play 
which must come to him ; e. g : Iconoclasm : 
the breaking of images. Iconoclast: a break- 
er or destroyer of images or idols ["Abra- 
ham," flashes into the mind] ; a determined 
enemv of worship. God' ' s purposed icon- 
oclasm! "Oh, I see, — the 'stone cut out of 
the mountain without hand' tliat shall break 
in pieces all the kingdoms of the earth" — 
and so on. 

All this fine imagery comes by suggestion 
to the reader who is determined to fathom 
the meaning of words ; and the peculiarity of 
the pleasure resulting therefrom, lies in the 
fact that the reader recognizes it as hav- 
ing been created by his own mind rather 

204 The Mormon Point of View. 

than by that of the author ; whence the truth 
of the aphorism that the real pleasure of 
classic literature lies between the lines. 

It would be much easier to write so as to 
say it all — in the loose, padded style of the 
newspaper. The real work of the author lies 
in three things; first, the selection of just 
those aspects which lend themselves to 
unity ; secondly, the compression of his 
matter to the smallest compass ; and thirdly, 
the choice of such imagery as shall tell by 
suggestion all that has been left out. 

The compression results in unusual words 
and suggestive, though sometimes difficult, 
imagery ; as for instance : "Were not all 
the Bible prophets, with the single exception 
of Paul, of the same type as Joseph Smith? 
Men whose greatness lay solely in the fact 
that their souls were prisms through which 
the white light- of infinite truth was differ- 
entiated into the myriad lined duties and ob- 
ligations of social life; duties and obliga- 
tions the daily reactions from which bring 
man nearer to God." 

Let the "ordinary reader" spend an hour 
working out the remote bearings of this ex- 
pression, and begin to feel the joy of think- 
ing with his author, — an operation new to 
his passive mind, — and he will get some 
idea of what it means to read up hill. 

206 The Mormon Point of View. 


Christ's merciless test of faith. 

What is the meaning of the spiritual life? 
How is it engendered ? What are its mani- 
festations ? Are the characteristics of the 
spiritual life distinct enough for scientific 
study? How is the spiritual life related to 
the natural life? Are the two forms of life 
potentially co-existent? If so, are they re- 
ciprocal functions of the great mystery of 
life itself, or are they mutually exclusive? 
In other words, Can a man remain all that 
is implied by the words "natural life" the 
while he is Cultivating the life divine ; or 
must the natural life wane and die in pro- 
portion as the spiritual life attains ascen- 
dency? These and a hundred other ques- 
tions that will arise as this discussion pro- 
ceeds, ought at once to challenge the inter- 
est of the reader. 

Let us go back to one of the most dra- 
matic scenes in the life of our Savior. He 
had just fed the multitude, and such had 
been the effect of his miraculous multiplica- 
tion of the loaves and fishes, that these men 
said to one another : "Of a truth this is that 
Prophet which should come into the world." 

The Spiritual Life. 


a single subject of that kind. "Seek rather 
the meat which endureth to everlasting life." 
The spiritual side of their natures had not 
yet been awakened. They were still of the 
earth, earthy, in all their aspirations. 

"What sign shewest thou then that we 
may see and believe thee?" they asked him. 
"What dost thou work?" Then they re- 
minded him that Moses gave their fore- 
fathers manna in the desert. The Savior 
seizing upon the allusion, told them that 
this food ministered only to the physical 
appetite, leaving the soul untouched: 
"Moses gave you not that bread from heav- 
en Your fathers did eat manna in 

the wilderness and are dead." 

Here then was another type of the natu- 
ral life, the life which, like the grasses, to- 
day is but tomorrow is not; and once more 
does Christ set in contrast with it the life 
that is eternal: "Moses gave you not that 
bread from heaven; but my Father giveth 

you the true bread from heaven 

This is the bread which cometh down from 
heaven, that a man may eat thereof and 
never die." 

"Lord," cried they with the eagerness of 
new converts, "evermore give us this 
bread." But when he put the condition un- 

But when Jesus perceived that they were 
about to take him by force and proclaim him 
king, he departed alone into a mountain. 
All that night and the next day the people 
sought for him, such was the growing en- 
thusiasm to place him on the throne of 
David. Who can doubt for a moment, that 
had he manifested the least trace of the 
demagogue, had he even been passive 'in the 
hands of his friends,' the movement would 
eventually have swept the whole Jewish na- 
tion into a revolt against the Romans? Yet 
note now with what a merciless hand he de- 
nies himself all this homage, causing his last 
adherent to desert him, and even his disci- 
ples to hesitate about following him further. 

"Ye seek me," said he to the multitude, 
next day, "not because ye saw the miracles, 
hut because ye did eat of the loaves and were 
filled. Labor not for the meat which per- 
isheth, but for that meat which endureth un- 
to everlasting life." 

In these words is found the key to the sit- 
uation. The "meat which perisheth" stands 
for the natural life with all its ambitions and 
achievements. Christ perceived that this 
popular uprising had really no other source. 
At the same time, he knew that the kingdom 
of which he was to be king, had no room -for 


The Mormon Point of Viczv. 

der which they might obtain it, they were 
staggered: "I am that bread of life.. . .- 
He that cometh to me shall never hunger; 
and he that believeth on me shall never 
thirst." At this the Jews murmured saying, 
"Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose 
father and mother we know?" "Murmur 
not among yourselves," replied the Savior. 
"No man can come unto me except the 

Father draw him All that the 

Father giveth me shall come to me ; and him 
that cometh to me will I in no wise cast out." 

What then is the meaning of the ex- 
pression, the "Father draw him," and the 
"Father giveth him?" Nothing else than 
the awakening in man of the spiritual life; 
a psychic operation possible only to God. 
How many in this vast multitude had thus 
been "drawn" or "given" by the divine 
hand? All would follow him on the basis 
of the natural life ; how many would respond 
on the basis of the spiritual? He proceeds 
to put the test : 

"I am the living bread which came down 
from heaven ; if any man eat of this bread 
he shall live forever: and the bread that I 
will give is my flesh, which I will give for 
the life of the world." Up till thisj point 
his audience had merely been non-plussed 

The Spiritual Life. 


10 The Mormon Point of View. 

by his teachings ; now they strove among 
themselves saying, "How can this man give 
us his flesh to eat?" 

But Christ did not enlighten them: he 
merely emphasized the strange doctrine by 
repeating, "Verily, verily I say unto you, 
except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man 
and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. 
Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my 
blood, hath eternal life, and I will raise him 
up at the last day. For my flesh is meat in- 
deed and my blood is drink indeed. He that 
eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, 
dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the liv- 
ing Father hath sent me, and I live by my 
Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall 
live by me. This is chat bread which came 
down from heaven ; not as your fathers did 
eat manna and are dead: he that eateth of 
this bread shall live forever." 

Such was Christ's doctrine of the spiritual 
life; such the fearlessness with which he 
challenged men's souls. Is it any wonder 
that the people slunk away? Even his pro- 
fessed disciples said, "This is a hard saying ; 
who can hear it? And many from that time 
went back and walked no more with him." j 

There is something pathetic in the atti- 
tude of the twelve. His words had been in- 

comprehensible to them and they stood over- 
whelmed with doubt. Nevertheless, to the 
Savior's questions, "Will ye also go away?" 
Simon Peter answered: "Lord, to whom 
shall we go? thou hast the words of eter- 
nal life; and we believe and are sure that 
thou art that Christ, the Son of the. living 

( Does the reader comprehend how Christ 
is the bread of life ? How none can eat "this 
bread," save as the Father draw him ? How 
unless he eat this bread — unless he eat 
Christ's flesh and drink Christ's blood — 
there is no eternal life in him ? . 

Blessed are they who, like the twelve dis- 
ciples, can believe this doctrine of the spir- 
itual life, even without knowing its implica- 
tions, simply because they love and trust 
Him who proclaims it. Are you among that 
number? Or are you still one of die mul- 
titude that would go away again under sim- 
ilar circumstances ? i Let us proceed rever- 
ently and prayerfully to think out the mean- 
ing of Christ's words. I 


The Spiritual Life. 211 



Nothing perhaps will better tend to clear 
the way for this subject, than to consider the 
various aspects in which the spiritual life is 
spoken of in scripture. The most familiar 
and oft-quoted aspect is that of spiritual 
birth. "Except a man be born of the water 
and of the spirit, he cannot enter the king- 
dom of God." And then as if to contrast 
the natural with the spiritual life, the Savior 
adds: "that which is born of the flesh, is 
flesh ; that which is born of the spirit, is 

Here are a number of other statements of 
this aspect: "Seeing ye have purified your 
souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit 
unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see 
that ye love one another with a pure heart 
fervently ; being born again, not of corrupti- 
ble seed but of incorruptible, by the word of 
God which liveth and abideth forever." t 
"Whosoever is born of God doth not commit 
sin ; for his seed remaineth in him : and he 
cannot commit sin, because he is born of 
God."* "Beloved, let us love one another: 

•John 3: 5, 6. tl. Peter 1: 22, 23. tl. John 3: 9. 

212 The Mormon Point of View. 

for love is of God : and every one that loveth 
is born of God, and knoweth God."§ 

Note that in all these passages, and in 
others that might be quoted, not only is the 
fact of the spiritual life characterized as by 
a new birth, but its chief manifestation, love, 
is invariably pointed out. 

The idea of the spiritual life is also 
couched in many passages under the aspect 
of coming unto Christ or coming unto God. 
"If any man thirst, let him come unto me 
and drink." "He that cometh unto God 
must first believe that he is, and that he is 
a rewarder of them that diligently seek 
him." "And the spirit and the bride say, 
Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. 
And let him that is athirst come : and who- 
soever will, let him take the water of life 
freely." In these passages the spiritual life 
is described not by the manner of its incep- 
tion, nor\by its manifestations towards oth- 
ers, but by the goal towards which it causes 
man to aspire. That goal is none other than 
God himself; a fact which Christ compre- 
hended when he said to his disciples, "Be ye 
perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect." 

Paul has. a most vivid conception of the 

}L John 4: 7. 

The Spiritual Life. 


214 The Mormon Point of View. 

two states of the soul : "They that are after 
the flesh do mind the things of the flesh ; but 
they that are after the Spirit, the things of 
the Spirit. For to be carnally-minded [i. e. 
to be living the natural life] is death; but to 
be spiritually minded is life and peace . . . 
but ye are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, 
if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in 
you. "| So in another place he says: "She 
that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liv- 
eth."fl And of Sardis, one of the seven 
churches mentioned in Revelations, a church 
which had become worldly again, the Spirit 
said: "I know thy works, that thou hast a 
name thou livest and art dead. Be watchful 
and strengthen the things which remain, and 
are ready to die."* John describes the tran- 
sition from the natural to the spiritual life 
in the same way: "We know that we have 
passed from death unto life because we love 
the brethren."t 

We come now to the strangest of all the 
characterizations of the spiritual life, that in 
which it is represented as being Christ him- 
self. "He that hath the Son hath life. And 
he that hath not the Son hath not life," says 
John.* "Know ye not," asks Paul, "how 

II Rom. 8: 5-7. IF I. Timothy, 5: 6. •Revela- 
tions, 3: 1, 2. tL John, 3: 14. J I. John, 6: 12. 

that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be rep- 
robates ?"§ Again: "Know ye not that your 
bodies are the members of Christ ?"|| "My 
little children," he writes affectionately to 
the Galatians, "of whom I have travail in 
birth, till Christ be formed in you." "I am 
crucified with Christ," says Paul again, 
"nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ 
liveth in me." 

The key to Paul's strong metonymies is 
found in First Corinthians 6:19, where he 
restates the question, "Know ye not that 
your bodies are the members of Christ?" 
in these words: "What! know ye not that 
your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, 
which is in you, and which ye have of 
God?" If therefore for "Christ" in the 
passages above quoted, we read "the Holy 
Ghost as charged with the mind and will of 
Christ," all ambiguities disappear. 

So also in no other way than this can we 
understand Christ's own strong words : "At 
that day ye shall know that I am in the 
Father and ye in me, and I in you."* Taken 
literally such a thing would be impossible; 
but if we understand it figuratively, all diffi- 
culty vanishes. The passage probably means 

J II. Cor., 15: 5. ||I. Cor., 6: 15. 

The Spiritual Life. 


that the Holy Ghost, charged with Christ's 
mind and will, is to be in man, and man's 
mind and will, conveyed by the Holy Ghost r 
is to be in Christ ; even as now the mind and 
will of the Father is in Christ, and Christ's 
mind and will is in the Father, through the 
same sacred medium. 

The development of the spiritual life fs 
set forth in still another aspect by our 
Savior. The Pharisees had demanded of 
him when the kingdom of God should com© 
and this is his answer: "The kingdom o£ 
God cometh not with outward show : neither 
shall they say, Lo here, or Lo there, for the 
kingdom of God is within you." Here the 
well known figure of metonymy is used, the 
effect being spoken of instead of the cause. 
That change, that regeneration, which fits a 
man for the kingdom of God, comes to himt 
"without observation" or "without outward 
show" as the marginal reference has it. Its 
approach cannot be heralded by a trumpet- 
It is a something born within him. 

!IGal., 4: 19. 'John, 14: 10. 

210 The Mormon Point of View. 



All these methods of conceiving the spir- 
itual life are strongly figurative, like nearly 
all oriental thought. Let us briefly review 
them in order to realize better their force 
and bearing. 

First there is the significant imagery sur- 
rounding the birth conception. This implies 
first the engendering of a new life without 
ostentation and deep in the soul's womb of 
truth. Next there is the coming forth of 
this life into a new world ; innocent, pure, 
and fraught with the potentialities of endless 
evolution. This "being born of the Spirit" 
represents the expression side, as "being 
conceived of the spirit" represents the im- 
pression side of the life divine. Other 
analogies, — such for instance as the mutual 
obligations between God and man as be- 
tween parent and child, and the possibility 
of the child attaining to the full stature of 
the parent, — will occur to the reader by a 
little reflection. 

There is next the figure involved in "com- 
ing unto God." "All ye that labor and are 
heavy-laden, come unto me, and I will give 

The Spiritual Life. 


!18 The Mormon Point of View. 

you rest;" and "If any man thirst let him 
come to me and drink," are both figures 
which would be very effective in a country 
where fatigue and thirst are daily experi- 
ences. The deeper significance, however, 
seems to be that while the natural life meets 
with obstructions on all sides, — known as 
hunger, thirst, sickness, sorrow, death, — 
because it is out of harmony with law, the 
spiritual life, — being nothing more nor less 
than perfect adjustment to law, — encounters 
friction with the universe only to the extent 
that it is yet imperfect. 

"Consider the lilies of the field," said the 
Master, "they toil not neither do they spin, 
yet Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed 
like one of these." The natural, organic, 
frictionless evolution of the lily, is a fine 
type of the spiritual life in its relation to the 
universe; the labored, aritifical nailed-to- 
gether pomp and circumstance of Solomon, 
stands equally for the natural life. So also 
when Christ said to the multitude, "He that 
eateth this bread shall live forever," and to 
the woman of Samaria, "The water I give 
shall be a well springing up unto everlast- 
ing life," he pointed out by other figures 
that "coming unto God" is a process of 
eliminating friction with law by obeying 

law ; a process of coming into harmony with 
the universe. 

Consider next the many references in 
scripture to the natural life as something 
dead, and to the spiritual life as this same 
something made alive. At first sound we 
are inclined to think of the word 'dead' as 
something that has ceased to live. But Paul 
evidently used the word in the sense of 'dor- 
mant,' or that which has not yet begun to 

There is a tremendous difference between 
the two conceptions: the same difference as 
that which subsists between an acorn, which 
has not yet begun to be an oak, and a heap 
of ashes, which recently was an oak. Yet 
potentially these two extremes are alike; 
should the acorn fail to become an oak, it 
will not be long till it will be indistinguish- 
able from the ashes. 

It is in this sense only that the natural 
man is dead; for hidden in every soul born 
to earth, like the oak in the acorn, is the 
potentiality of eternal life. But should this 
potentiality never became dynamic, — should 
the spirual life never be awakened — then he 
is dead indeed; for nothing else than the 
spiritual can come into eternal harmony with 
the universe. What difference, when both 

The Spiritual Life. 


become mould, which was acorn and which 
was ashes? "He that hath the Son, hath life; 
and he that hath not the Son hath not life." 
This is merely the scriptural statement of 
the acorn that became an oak, or failing to 
do so, became ashes. 

I Respecting the next figure, that Christ is 
our spiritual life, — that to become spiritually 
alive is to have "Christ formed within us," — 
I cannot say much here, as the explication of 
this thought forms the central fact of my 
thesis. However, it may be well to clear up 
the notion of what is meant when we use 
the word Christ. 

To nine people out of ten the word brings 
into mind the man Jesus, whereas the idea 
Christ does not stand for any personality 
whatever. It is confusing even to say that 
Christ is Messiah or Savior : we think still 
of the man. Christ is Messiah-hood or 
Savior-hood, if the reader will pardon so 
violent a coinage. Christ is the power that 
saves — the power delegated by God to save 

When we speak of Christ as the "anoint- 
ed one," we must understand that it is the 
"anointing," not the "one," which, is Christ. 
Call this anointing by what name you will, 
— priesthood, Godhood, eternal kingship, — 

220 The Mormon Point of View. 

it is that power in the universe which can 
save — the power that can awaken the ;lor- 
mant spiritual life, and gradually attune the 
soul to harmony with the universe. 
| True enough, this power could never have 
become operative save as it was clothed up- 
on the man Jesus [or some other being, 
should he have failed] ; no more than could 
the abstract but very real power known as 
the presidency of the United States, accom- 
plish things without an executive being to 
wield it. 

On the other hand, the man Jesus, 
stripped of this delegated power and author- 
ity, might still have influenced the world in 
the way that Buddha, Socrates, or Confu- 
cius did; but he could no more have been 
Savior, — he could no more have awakened 
in man the spirtual life, — than you or I. Do 
not misunderstand me: his personality was 
such that he could perhaps have done a mil- 
lion-fold more than you or I in preparing 
men to permit God to light their torches of 
eternal life. But even though this power t — 
of awakening faith in God and a desire to be 
saved, — were multiplied a million-million 
fold, he would still not be Messiah or Savior : 
for unless God touched the hearts of the con- 
verts made by him, kindling within them the 

The Spiritual Life. 

life eternal, they would remain still in the 
life natural. 

If now we remember that Christ is always 
to be thought of as Christhood, or that part 
of Godhead whose special function is to save 
mankind, — let the method be what it may, 
— we shall have no difficulty in understand- 
ing how Christ may be "formed within us," 
and how "he that hath the Son hath life, 
and he that hath not the Son hath not life."/ 

Let us lastly consider the characterization 
of the spiritual life as the "Kingdom of 
God" within the heart of man. In its literal 
sense the Kingdom of God involves a perfect 
social organism,^— something man has not 
yet power to conceive, let alone form and 
perpetuate. The main lines of this perfect- 
ed society are, however, foreshadowed in the 
Church. Beginning with the family as the 
social unit and building progressively up- 
ward through the ward, the stake, and so on, 
to a wider and wider generalization of pow- 
er, we come at last to Jesus Christ, the King 
of kings ; every part being so perfectly co- 
ordinated and subordinated that we shall 
have a social structure which is the natural 
expression of truth, and which, therefore, 
cannot fail to bear fruits of love, joy, peace, 

The Spiritual Life. 

All those other ways of saying it — those fig- 
urative conceptions — are only partial de- 
scriptions of the changes that take place in 
the soul under the regenerating warmth of 
this potent influence. 

It remains only to point out that we of 
this day have reached a prosaic level in the 
history of the world. The same heavenly 
power which made Paul and his fellow-mis- 
sionaries break into poetic ecstasies of ex- 
pression, in trying to convey to others what 
they felt, now leads us to say simply, but 
still fervently : "We have a testimony of the 
Gospel : we know that this work is from 

"except my father draw him." 

"Therefore said I unto you, that no man can 
come unto me except it were given him of my 
Father." — Jesus. 

' At the close of the chapter recounting 
Peter's Pentecostal sermon occurs this sen- 
tence : "And the Lord added to the Church 
daily such as should be saved." This pas- 
sage, so full of profound truth when rightly 
understood, has been of untold mischief to 

5J22 The Mormon Point of View. 

and those other virtues involved in perfect 

Yet all this social evolution, Christ says, 
is in our hearts. Plow ? Just as an oak tree 
is in the acorn ; or as the forest to be, is hid- 
den away in the seed that is. Just as the 
kingdom of God is the perfect expression of 
the collective spiritual life of His children, 
so the potentiality of that kingdom — the 
seed, as it were — must even now lie dor- 
mant within us. How shall it be awakened? 
How shall we enter the holy of holies in our 
own hearts and commune with the author of 
eternal life ? That is a question belonging to 
my next chapter. 

Here we shall do well to contrast these 
figurative aspects of the spiritual life, — the 
"birth of the spirit," the "coming unto God," 
the "passing from death unto life," "having 
Christ formed within us," and the "King- 
dom of God in the human heart," — with the 
simple, literal expression of the same truth 
in Peter's words : "Repent and be baptized 
every one of you, in the name of Jesus 
Christ, for the remission of sins and ye shall 
receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." It is 
through this medium that God sets free the 
spiritual life in man, even as a sunbeam 
awakens the oak slumbering in the acorn, 

224 The Mormon Point of l-'icw. 

the religious conceptions of mankind. Ex- 
amine the words carefully: "And the Lord 
added" — as if salvation or damnation lay ab- 
solutely in his will ; "such as should be 
saved," — implying that there were others 
predestined not to be saved. I repeat, the 
misinterpretation of these words has been 
the source of a spiritual blight to the world, 
which is only another way of saying that on 
this and a few similar texts rests the doc- 
trine of predestination, which assumes that 
men and women are elected to heaven or hell 
by no act or merit of their own, but solely 
according to the caprice of the Almighty. 

One of these passages we have already ex- 
amined. When Christ was confronted with 
a multitude of people enthusiastic to make 
him king, He did not hesitate to put the test 
that should determine whether they were 
acting on the basis of the natural or of the 
spiritul life; for, said He, "No man can 
come unto me unless the Father draw him." 
• Nor was he afraid that the test he was about 
to apply would discourage any that were 
really fitted to come. "All that the Father 
giveth me," said he, "shall come unto me: 
andlhim that cometh to me I will in nowise 
cast out." The result proved that none of 
the multitude had "been given" by the 

The Spiritual Life. 


21H The Mormon Point of /-'uw. 

Father, and not many of his professed disci- 

What then? Shall man sit expectantly 
or indifferently by, till it becomes God's 
pleasure to "draw him" or "give him" to 
Christ? Somehow, these passages must be 
understood in consonance with the universal 
invitation: "Let him who is athirst come; 
and whosoever will, let him take the waters 
of life freely."* The appeal here is to man's 
volition, not to God's permission. It is 
"whosoever will," not "whosoever God 
wills." ) The problem is to reconcile these ap- 
parently conflicting ideas. . 

And this problem is easy enough to one 
who steadily refuses to think mystery into it. 
Of course ultimately, and in the absolute 
sense, man is dependent upon God for the 
breath that keeps him alive, for the water 
and food that nourish him, and for all those 
adjustments of nature whose sum-total con- 
stitute his tenure of mortal existence; but 
behind all this, man has a will no less free 
than his Father's ; and should there be a 
trial as to which is supreme, God could of 
course, deprive him successively of all the 
powers that have been added upon him by 

•Revelations, 22: 17. 

The Spiritual Life. 


of power to which it might not attain, should 
it comply with the conditions. 

In the light of this doctrine, it must be 
self-evident that man never has attained nor 
ever can attain, to any saving attribute or 
spiritual power, save by an act of will on his 
own part. What I mean is, God could not 
elect that man should be blessed so or so 
simply to please Himself ; any more than He 
could decree that man should be damned so 
or so without reference to eternal justice. 
Man can be blessed only if he consent to 
God's will ; he can be damned only if he de- 
fy God's will. In other words, man's pro- 
motion or demotion in the scale of progress, 
is directly related to his own will, and not 
predetermined by God. 

\But man wills only because he desires. It 
is here then, here in the field of desire^ the 
field antecedent to will, .that all the forces of 
the universe — usually summed up in the 
word, environment, — play upon himj ( It is 
here, therefore, and here only, that God's 
love finds its opportunity to bless man, by 
creating in him ideals of righteousness. 

But man must consent to entertain these 
ideals, in preference to the false and fleeting 
ones which the less perfect environment — 
such as the motives of his fellow man, his 

virtue of obedience, since the birth of his 
spirit in heaven, provided eternal justice 
permitted such an undoing of man. But 
man's will might still hold out negatively — 
even to a point where nothing in the uni- 
verse could touch it further. 

Of course such a state would represent 
our extreme idea of damnation — a state in 
which there would be left to him the con- 
sciousness to know and feel, but no vestige 
of power to do, unless ability to refuse as- 
sent to God, be considered power, and this 
nothing could take away. It would be such 
a state, in fact, as Lucifer the arch rebel is 
even now approaching. In the positive 
sense, therefore — that is, as respects power 
to create, modify, change, — God's will must 
ever be supreme over man's ; but in the neg- 
ative sense they are, ever have been, and 
ever must be equal. 

This view of the human will must become 
clear with a little thought. 

Make man co-eternal with God, as Joseph 
Smith does, and you cannot escape the 
necessity of endowing him with free will ; 
but free will is not free will, if it have any 
limitation; if on the negative side it could 
ultimately be crushed through coercion, or 
if on the positive side there were any degree 

228 The Mormon Point of Vietv. 

own carnal instincts and appetites, or even 
the whisperings of evil spirits — is urging 
upon him ; otherwise God cannot "draw 
him" into the spiritual life. 

When, therefore, of the multitude that 
listened to Peter on the day of Pentecost, 
three thousand souls were "born of God" in 
a day, we must believe that they consented 
to entertain the ideal of the spiritual life 
which the Holy Ghost put into their hearts, 
otherwise the Father could not have "given 
them" to Christ. So also of that other mul- 
titude who partook of the loaves and fishes ; 
the reason of their failure to grasp the hid- 
den significance of Christ's strange words, 
lay precisely in the obverse fact: they had 
refused to entertain the spiritual ideal which 
the Father was striving to form within them. 
Predestination had nothing whatever to do 
with either case. 

These preliminaries being understood, let 
us come face to face with the tremendous 
significance of the fact which forms the 
theme of this chapter. No man can come 
unto Christ save the Father draw him. No 
man, in and of himself, has power to awaken 
his dormant spiritual life. No man can en- 
ter the kingdom of God, except he be born 
of the spirit. Vary the statement as much 

The Spiritual Life. 


230 The Mormon Point of View. 

as you will, the truth remains the same: 
"Coming unto Christ," "Awakening one's 
spiritual life," "entering the kingdom of 
God," all signify the beginning of a life 
which, when perfected, will be in harmony 
with the universe and therefore eternal; 
consequently, as only those things can co- 
exist between which there is no friction, 
there is no eternal life for the man or wo- 
man in whom the potentiality of the divine 
sleeps on. Between the eternally dormant 
and the eternally dead there is no difference 
save in name. 

Several important questions confront us 
now. We have seen that man in and of him- 
self is powerless to begin the new life, let 
him do what he will in the way of observing 
tenet, ordinance, and commandment; but 
God is equally helpless to do so for him 
without the co-operation of man's will. It 
requires the united will of both God and 
man in the most solemn compact of which 
intelligences are capable. Nor could this be 
otherwise, as we shall see later, when we 
discuss the vital significance of the spiritual 

The next proposition to which I invite at- 
tention, is this : The conditions involved in 
the evolution of the spiritual life are not fiat 

The Spiritual Life. 


ous spiritual entity, stands to the vine itself 
as a physical expression. And just as this 
life of the vine is a reality, although quite 
impalpable to our senses, s6 the saving pow- 
er of Christhood, elsewhere in scripture 
called the grace of God, must not be thought 
of as simply God's ipsd dixit, but as a living, 
vital energy flowing from the Infinite, 
through the medium of Christ, into the 
souls of men. 

"I am the vine," says Jesus, "and my 
Father is the husbandman." Without the 
husbandman there could be no vine; with- 
out the vine, there could be no branches, — 
in fact no life whatever could be manifested, 
for there would be no physical ve- 
hicle for it. So, too, as Christ also 
points out, there must be continu- 
ous, unbroken connection between vine and 
branches or the latter must die. "As the 
branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it 
abide in the vine, no more can ye, except ye 
abide in me . . . for without me ye can 
do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is 
cast forth as a branch and is withered." 

Paul's representation of the Church is 
that of the human body, in which the organs 
stand for the various officers and the blood 
for the spirit of grace which flows from God 

conditions, depending upon the ipse dixit of 
Omnipotence ; they are organic conditions 
depending upon eternal law ; which proposi- 
tion I shall try to make clear in my next 



"I am the vine, ye are the branches; he that 
abideth in me and I in him, the same bringeth 
forth much fruit: for without me ye can do 
nothing." — Jesus Christ. 

No statement of my theme, — which is, 
that the spiritual life involves a vitally or- 
ganic relationship between God and man, — 
could be more felicitous or suggestive than 
that above quoted. I have only to develop 
the bearings of this splendid metaphor to 
make my subject clear. 
( In th«.' statement, "I am the vine," it is 
Christ the Savior, not Jesus the man, that 
speaks. Christhood I have already defined 
as that aspect of Godhood whose special 
mission is to awaken and nurture the 
spiritual life in man.) This saving 
power stands in the same' relation to our 
Elder Brother, through whom it becomes 
operative, that the life of the vine, a mysteri- 

232 The Mormon Point of View. 

through the members uniting all the Saints 
as one body of Christ. It is very effective 
for Paul's purpose, but Christ's figure of the 
vine seems better, — as showing more varied 
aspects. Thus, for instance, our Lord illus- 
trates what inevitably becomes of the mem- 
ber) who is in the Church but not of it: 
"Every branch in me that beareth not fruit 
he [my Father] taketh away." Such a mem- 
ber cannot hold his place; for even if the 
knife be not used, he withers, then dries, 
then is sloughed off. The only condition on 
which a branch can remain is that it bear 
fruit : the more fruit it bears, the more of the 
life of the vine it appropriates to itself. 

In the living vine, there will always be a 
fluctuating relationship between the inner 
life and its physical expression; precisely as 
there is between faith and works in the 
living church. Conceive, however, of a vine 
without any life in it, an artificial vine whose 
branches are nailed on and whose leaves, 
flowers, and fruit ( !) take shape and color 
by virtue of glue, paste, and paint. Con- 
ceive, you say? What would be the object 
of constructing such a vine? 

' None whatever, so far as the vine is con- 
cerned. But what of the multitude of so- 
called churches of Christ, for which my 

The Spiritual Life. 


234 The Mormon Point of View. 

supposed vine stands as a type? Would -, 
there be no object in setting up these ? How. 
many of the social usages to which the 
world wags today are vitally organic in 
their growth and development, and how, 
many are merely bedizzened conventionali- 
ties? We have improved vastly over our- 
forefathers in the naturalness of our dress, 
food, drink, recreation, manners, civil conn 
ventions, and other social customs; but ha& 
religion kept pace with civilization in this* 
regard ? /' Following out Christ's conceptionr 
of the vine, religion ought never to have, 
had the first taint of artificiality. Its evolution 
in spiritual life should have been as inevit- 
ably natural and beautiful as that of the lily, 
in the field; instead of which, however, go. 
into any of the churches harking back to . 
mediaeval timts and. examine the trumpery v 
in tenet and ceremonial still paraded before 

Of all the shams and make-believes that 
have at various epochs held mankind, those, 
of religion vuithstand the iconoclast longest^ 
being embalmed, as it were, in men's vener- 
ation and superstition. How far, alas, have 
Christians departed from the simplicity of: 
Him who said, "I am the vine, ye are the 
branches !" As well expect the sap to flow^ 

The Spiritual Life. 


attempted, as in that other of which it is 
the type, the bud cannot become an integral 
part of the vine, unless the Father of all life 
"draw it" there. 

But note now the alternative: While 
there can be no shamming in the union of 
bud and vine,— whoever heard of vegetable 
hypocrisy? — this is not true always in the 
union of souls unto Christ. ( Where the hu- 
man spirit has not been attuned by faith and 
repentance to the spirit of the Infinite, that 
mysterious touch whereby the life of God 
flows into the heart of man, cannot take 
place, even though an angel from heaven 
preside over the altar. Nay, there is no 
power in the universe that could do it; for 
though nothing (possible in itself) is im- 
possible to God, yet he could not save and 
make part of the kingdom of heaven an 
unrepentant soul : it would be nothing less 
than the uniting of contradictories. 

As suggested above, the bud has no al- 
ternative: it must either "stick" and bear 
fruit, or shrivel up and fall off. Not so (ap- 
parently) with the human scion: it frequent- 
ly adheres to the growing tree of life by 
virtue of dissimulation, that almost uni- 
versal glue whereby the conventions of so- 
ciety hang together: and such are the 

to the leaves of a painted vine, as believe 
that the spirit of grace will make alive and 
sanctify all this artificial pomp and show. 

But leaving mechanical religions aside, 
let us examine some ot the tendencies to- 
ward artificiality in the living, growing 
church. If Christ is the vine, there are two 
ways of securing branches ; by grafting (or 
budding) and by natural growth. The first 
represents conversions from the world, the 
second the birth of children under the cove- 
nant. There are interesting situations grow- 
ing out of both. 

The moment you compare the awakening 
of the spiritual life with the placing of a 
bud into a living vine, you proclaim the fact 
that a true conversion is the establishing of 
an organic relation with the soul of the uni- 
verse. The bud must itself be alive, and its 
life must moreover be of(a kind that can be 
attuned to the life of the tree, or there will 
be no commingling of the two. Man, the 
agent of nature, puts the bud in place and 
protects it, but there his instrumentality 
ends. No pronouncement of horticultural 
authorities, however eminent, will now af- 
fect the result. The life of the tree flows in- 
to the bud or it does not. Eternal law pre- 
sides over this union. In the miracle thus 

230 The Mormon Point of View. 

mechanical fruits it brings forth in the shape 
of prayers and punctilious attention to forms 
and ceremonies, that it frequently deceives 
the very elect. 

I have intimated that there is a difference 
between the law of life cleaving unto life in 
the vegetable and the human world respect- 
ively. But is this really true, after all ? In 
the sight of God with whom a thousand 
years are as one day, does not the soul that 
"makes believe" to be part of the kingdom, 
begin at once to shrivel, even like the bud 
that fails to "take ?" And will it not as sure- 
ly fall off when eternity comes, in spite of 
its clumsy attempts to imitate the spontane- 
ous works of grace ? 

"What fools these mortals be" indeed! 
And in nothing is their folly so barefaced as 
in the clap-traps of religion. We smile in 
pity at the heathen and his praying machine. 
But how much better . are the mechanical 
devices of the Christian, involving lip, knee, 
cross, and rosary? "I am the vine, ye are 
the branches.",) Religion is the evolution of 
spiritual life. It belongs to the domain of 
biology not the domain of physics. ' Only 
that can co-exist with the universe which is 
indissolubly united in truth and harmony 
with the universe. Earth life presents ten 

The Spiritual Life. 


thousand examples of society held loosely- 
together by mechanical bonds — forms and 
conventions that must be written down and 
memorized. The only society that shall en- 
dure when time is no more is that in which 
soul shall be united to soul by an affinity 
transcending knowledge ; an affinity which 
begins with the awakening of the spiritual 
life and ends by making the soul one with 
Christ as Christ is now one with the Father. 



"As the living Father hath sent me, and I 
live by the Father, so he that eateth me, even he 
shall live by me." — Jesus Christ. 

We have some deep thoughts to think in 
this chapter and the next : let the reader en- 
ter upon them with a spirit of reverent con- 

"I am the bread of life," says our Savior. 
"If any man eat this bread he shall live for- 
ever." In this figure, bread stands for food,, 
and without food man dies. But it is not the 
physical life of which he is speaking. It is- 
the life of the soul. Without Christ, the 
life of the soul comes to an end ; with him it< 

The Spiritual Life. 

*.!> if 

soever eateth this bread shall live forever;" 
that is to say, the life which now is tenta- 
tive, shall by eating this bread become eter- 
nally secure. 

To vary the figure: before us lies the 
summit of eternity ; whoever passes this 
shall partake of the nature of God — shall 
live a life of eternal progress, (and there- 
fore of eternal bliss). The soul that chooses 
Christ for a guide will pass this summit 
safely; but the soul that refuses to choose 
him will fail to reach it. As there can be 
no eternity of lingering on this side, such 
a soul has but one alternative ; it must go 
back to the point of being whence it started. 
This means that all the power which it has 
accumulated by countless ages of obedience, 
will ultimately be stripped away. It must 
die the second death, — the death of the 
spirit. In other words, it must drop back to 
the barren plain of mere existence. 

Latter-day Saints believe that this must 
inevitably be the alternative of every soul, 
even as Christ says; but unlike Christians, 
_lhey do not narrow the day of choice to this 
brief span of earth existence. It is both un- 
reasonable and unscriptural to hold that lives 
which the patience and long suffering of 
God has advanced to this splendid stage of 

2:i8 The Mormon Point of View. 

lives for ever. Such is the doctrine we are 
to make self.-evident. 

As a preliminary let us understand what 
is meant by eternal life. If man, as taught 
by Joseph Smith, is co-eternal with God, 
then he is without beginning and without 
en d — whatever befalls. But his existence 
previous to birth in heaven was evidently 
one of consciousness alone— consciousness 
without power. This was not life, for life 
involves growth, progress, increase of pow- 
er ; whence alone comes bliss. 

The soul that fails to eat the bread of life 
cannot be annihilated as an intelligence 
since it is eternal ; but its life must end — the 
life of eternal progress whose ultimate goal 
is to become perfect as God is perfect. Life 
as opposed to mere being or existence man 
now has ; it represents the accumulated reac- 
tion upon his ego of countless ages of obe- 
dience to God. But it is not yet eternal life : 
it may swing back again to the endless 
monotony of mere existence. 

Christ's doctrine is this: that we have 
reached a stage in our evolution when a 
change is necessary, if we would go on fur- 
ther. That change he figuratively calls the 
"bread of life" and then announces that he 
is that bread. His promise is, that "who- 

240 The Mormon Point of View. 

power, shall be eclipsed by their first refusal 
to spiritual awakening. There is oppor- 
tunity still for repentance after death. More- 
over, we take hope in Christ's prophecy that 
every knee shall bow and every tongue con- 
fess,* and that no souls shall ultimately re- 
main unforgiven save them that commit the 
unpardonable sin.t / 

Such is the unequivocal doctrine of the 
spiritual life as enunciated by Christ. Were 
my purpose merely to make the doctrine 
plain, I should stop here; but my desire is 
to understand it — to realize why it must be 
so. If the doctrine be true, it is true in and 
of itself, and not because God decreed it (in 
the sense that He might have decreed other- 
wise), nor because Christ proclaimed it; it 
is true because the universe demands it — 
because it is in consonance with the very 
nature and integrity of the all-in-all.' 

Begin your reasoning from the one thing 
that we cannot think otherwise than eternal- 
ly fixed and immutable—the universe itself. 
Since this must* remain as it is, whatever 
changes come to creations within its bosom, 
it becomes the final criterion of things eter- 
nal. At variance in nature and purpose 
with the harmony and integrity of the all- 
•Rom., 14:11. tMatt., 12: 31, 32. 

The Spiritual Life. 


242 The Mormon Point of View. 

in-all no created thing- can endure for ever; 
for it must ultimately come into clash with 
the fixed and immutable nature of the uni- 
verse and so be broken to pieces. Converse- 
ly, that which is at one with the nature and 
harmony of the universe, must have eternal 
existence by virtue of that oneness ; since 
there would be no power in the universe to 
overthrow it. 

Christ's doctrine put in terms of this 
thought may be thus stated: individual in- 
telligences can be at one with the universe 
only as they function on the spiritual plane. 
The natural plane is only a transitory one, 
as the experiences of life sufficiently testify. 

That all things earthly must die and pass 
away, has become a proverb among all peo- 
ple. But perhaps experience does not always 
suggest the ultimate reason : viz., that mortal 
life and all its concomitants, are at variance 
with the fixed nature of the universe, and 
therefore cannot endure eternally. Nor did 
.God design that the natural world should 
continue forever; its evident purpose is 
merely as a means of transition- from one 
i fixed state of man, that of a barren, im- 
potent consciousness, to another fixed state, 
that of infinite creative power. 

That our Father in heaven, though a per- 

The Spiritual Life. 


the Father: so he that eateth me, even he 
shall live by me. He that eateth my flesh, 
and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me and I 
in him." Could oneness with God, and 
therefore with the universe, be put in more 
searching terms than this? ) 

Why Christ chose this peculiarly forceful 
metaphor of 'eating his flesh and drinking 
his blood,' we shall discuss in the next 
chapter. But if we would know once for 
all what it means, we have only to consider 
well the words which I have placed in 
italics : we eat his flesh and drink his blood, 
when we attain that state of oneness with 
him whereby he may be said to dwell in us 
and we in him. Since there was in fact 
such a union between him and the Father, 
he must himself have done figuratively with 
the Father what he now asks man to do 
with him. 

No declaration of our Savior is more 
emphatic or more common than that "My 
Father and I are one." So intimate is this 
union that Christ speaks of himself as being 
in the Father and the Father in him: "Nei- 
ther pray I for these [his disciples] alone, 
but for them also which shall believe on 
me through their word [all mankind in 
whom the spiritual life shall be awakened] ; 

sonal being like Christ, has attained to this 
power, we must believe on the evidence of 
our senses : on the evidence that we are, and 
that a solar system has been created by Him 
to aid our transition toward a similar state. 
That He is at one with the universe we 
must believe also ; no less on the natural 
grounds that a being not so united could 
scarcely have attained to creative power, 
than on the declaration of scripture, that He 
is one with the Holy Ghost, which is the 
scriptural equivalent of what I have called 
the infinite harmony and integrity of the 

If now we have perceived how and why 
the Father's life is eternal, we have a basis 
for comprehending the conditions of immor- 
tality for man. To be one with the Father is 
to be one with the universe ; and to be one 
with the universe, is to be safely past the 
possibility of friction with universal law; 
in other words, it is to be spiritually homo- 
geneous with infinite Truth. What could 
prevent immortality, under such circum- 
stances ? 

Note now that it is precisely on this 
ground of oneness with the Father, that 
Christ bases his power to save man. "As 
the living Father hath sent me, and I live by 

244 The Mormon Point of View. 

that they all may be one, as thou, Father, art 
in me, and I in thee, that they may be one in 

When the scriptures declare that the 
Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are one, what 
is it but saying in other words that two 
individualized beings, related as father and 
son, have both attained to harmony with 
the universe? Under no other condition 
can we conceive rationally the possibility of 
individual immortality. But under this con- 
dition, we cannot conceive rationally any 
escape from immortality. 

Apply now this simple reasoning to man's 
hope of eternal life. Does it need the declar- 
ation of divine authority to convince us that 
unless Christ be formed within us — unless 
we are at one with him and the Father — it 
is not possible to attain the life everlasting? 
Is not this doctrine self-evident ? As before 
pointed out, such a union is impossible on 
the^ fluctuating basis of the natural life; it 
must therefore take place, if it take place 
at all, on the basis of the spiritual life. And 
that is why "no man can see the kingdom of 
God unless he be born again ;" and why no 
man can enter it unless he is born of. the 
water and of the Spirit.) 
•John 17: 20. 21. ' 

The Spiritual Life. 


2 l-'I The Mormon Point of Viczv. 



"As the Father hath life in himself, so hath 
he griven to the Son to have life in himself."— 
Jesus Christ. , 

Hitherto we have spoken only in figur- 
ative terms of the change which is to fit man 
for eternal life. Perhaps from its very na- 
ture we shall not be able to approach it more 
definitely. Nevertheless if I can take away 
some of the vagueness surrounding the sub- 
ject like a* halo ; if I can give it more weight 
by putting into terms of the natural life 
some of the suggestions clinging about the 
revelations of the spiritual,/ 1 shall have ac- 
complished the purpose of this chapter. 

Consider then first the solemn declaration 
of our Savior : "Except ye eat the flesh of 
the son of man, and drink his blood, ye 
have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, 
and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; 
and I will raise him up at the last day." 

'Flesh and blood' stand here for the all- 
in-all of the physical life. It was practically 
the only life with which his hearers were 
familiar. He must approach the unknown 
through the medium of the known. It was 

not the life of flesh and blood, but that oth- 
er life, spoken of in the passage introduct- 
ing this chapter, that he desired them to eat 
and drink. 

They would not be essentially better 
should they merely mingle his natural life 
with theirs; that is, should they 'eat the 
flesh and drink the blood' of the man Jesus. 
But let them mingle with theirs his spiritual 
life j let them 'eat the flesh and drink the 
blood' of Christ, i. e., take into their souls 
the essential essence of Christhood ; let them 
kindle in their lives the life that the Father 
kindled in him — then indeed should they live 
forever, and Christ 'would raise them up at 
the last day.' 

Thus Christ makes the physical life a 
type of the spiritual. But the metaphor is 
even richer still in its symbolism. In using 
those words, Christ probably had in view 
the sacrament of the Lord's Supper estab- 
lished later in his ministry. 

When we partake of the bread and the 
wine we are figuratively eating the flesh and 
drinking the blood of Christ. But note care- 
fully this fact: we do it "for a witness," as 
the sacramental prayer says, and not be- 
cause there is saving virtue in the bread and 
wine themselves. For a witness of what? 

The Spiritual Life. 


That our lives are daily absorbing Christ- 
hood, that our spiritual natures have been 
awakened and are being kept alive through 
the medium of the Holy Ghost ; that Christ 
is in us, by his Spirit, and we in him, even 
as the Father and Son are in each other.* 

In passing I may mention the fact that, 
just as the cruel doctrine of predestination 
grew out of misinterpretation of a passage 
previously referred to, so from the words, 
"Except ye eat my flesh and drink my blood 
there is no life in you," has sprung up a still 
more mischievous doctrine called "trans- 
substantiation," which assumes that after 
the bread and wine are blessed by the priest, 
they cease to be bread and wine : they have 
been changed into the real flesh and blood of 
Christ. Millions of souls are lulled into a 
false security, under the belief that they are 
complying with the conditions of eternal 
life when they masticate a consecrated 
wafer 1 

Let us next ask the question : What is this 
Life which the Father had in himself and 

•The Sacramental prayer makes us witness 
that "we take upon us His name, and keep His 
commandments that we may have His Spirit to 
be with us." All the things I enumerate above 
take place in lives of which the sacramental tes- 
timony bears true witness. It is the same thing 
from the view point of results. 

248 The Mormon Point of View. 

which he gave to the Son; the Life which 
the Son would give to men, under the figure 
of making them eat his flesh and drink his 
blood ; the Life which is spoken of under the 
various guises of "being born of the Spirit," 
"Coming unto God," "passing from death 
unto life," "the kingdom of God within 
man," "having Christ formed within us," 
and "obtaining a testimony of the Gospel?" 
What is this Life without which our souls 
must die, but with it, live forever? Can we 
define it in terms that shall bring it still 
nearer home to our comprehension ? Let us 

"In the beginning," says John, "was the 
Word and the Word was with God and the 
Word was God. The same was in the be- 
ginning with God. All things were made by 
him; and without him was not anything 
made that was made. In him was life; and 
the life was the light of men."* From the 
fact that the Apostle adds further on : "And 
the Word was made flesh and dwelt with 
us," the passage is commonly taken to refer 
to the man Jesus ; whereas by a little thought 
it will be seen to refer to Christ, the office 
held by Jesus. 

•John, 1: 1-4. 

The Spiritual Life. 


I am going to read the passage in this 
way: "In the beginning was Godhood and 
Godhood was with God [i. e. the perfected 
man], and Godhood was God. [It was by 
virtue of the office that the perfected man 
became God] . All things were made by him 
[the office plus the man; without whom 
Godhood could not become operative], and 
without him was nothing made that was 

"In him [i. e. God, the office plus the man] 
was life, and the life was the light of men." 
[Without the union of the two there could 
have been no life, no light, no creations] .... 
And Godhood was made flesh [i. e. was con- 
ferred upon the man Jesus, whence he be- 
came Christ] and dwelt among us [i. e. the 
office plus the man] , full of grace and truth." 

This interpretation, which space will not 
permit me to elaborate,* will be found in 
full consonance with scripture, and will ex- 
plain a multitude of situations which must 
otherwise remain mysteries. The original 
word for which the translators put 
"Word" and which I have rendered God- 

•For a full discussion of the relation of God- 
hood and Priesthood, also the relation of the 
office to the being who bears it. I refer the read- 
er to my book entitled "Scientific Aspects of 


The Spiritual Life. 


who are spiritually awakened as having, by 
that change, become sons of God. "As many 
as received him [i. e. the Word plus the 
man] to them gave he power to become sons 
of God, even to them that believe on his 
name: which were born, not of blood, nor 
of the will of the flesh, but of God."* And 
this last aspect of the new life promises to 
be more fruitful than any of the others in 
making clear precisely what that change 

In the sense that God is the father of our 
spirits, all men, converted or otherwise, are 
sons of God. Now, it is not possible to be- 
come what we already are ; John's expres- 
sion must therefore stand for an entirely 
different and advanced relationship. The 
difference is probably this : The first birth, 
the birth of our spirits in pre-existence, 
makes us sons of God the personal Father; 
our second birth, — not our mortal birth, but 
our spiritual awakening, — makes us sons of 
God in the sense of Godhood, the sense ex- 
pressed by the "Word" in John's revelation. 

This is precisely the sense in which Jesus 
is the Son of God. He was a spirit born of 
God as we are ; but he became the Son of 
God when the "life" which the Father had 

•John, 1: 12, 13. 

250 The Mormon Point of View. 

hood, meaning that power in the universe 
by virtue of which our Father in heaven is 
God, — was the Greek word logos. Very lit- 
tle can be gained by looking up its etymol- 
ogy. John evidently used it very much as we 
use the letter x in algebra. It stood then, as it 
stands now, for the "mystery of Godliness." 
That it meant something more, however, 
than the personality of Christ, is evident 
from the fact that the apostle did not say: 
"In the beginning was Jesus," nor even, "In 
the beginning was Christ." If we abstract 
the power which made Jesus the Christ, and 
which makes our Father God, we shall prob- 
ably have the true significance of the word. 

Note now how the text agrees with the 
passage at the opening of this chapter. "In 
him was life," says John, "and the life was 
the light of men." Is not this the same life 
that the Savior refers to in these words: 
"As the Father had life in himself, so he 
gave to the Son to have life in himself"? 
And this life is the light of men, the light 
and life brought from the Father by Christ, 
and given by him unto men ; the spiritual 
life, without which the soul must perish. 

We have had many equivalents in expres- 
sion for the spiritual life, but John is now to 
add to the list one more. He speaks of those 

252 The Mormon Point of View. 

in himself, was given to him that he also 
might have life in himself; and we become 
Sons of God when Christ transfers this 
same life to us. Beings who have this life in 
common may be said to live in each other; 
even as the Father is in the Son, and the 
Son is in the Father. 

Now we see the significance of the pas- 
sage : "He that hath the Son hath life, and 
he that hath not the Son, hath not life." 
Sonship in the sense in which Jesus was the 
Son of God, is nothing less than the begin- 
ning of Godhood ; and Godhood is Life, 
Reason, Intelligence, the active, causative 
Principle of the universe ; it is Omnipo- 
tence, Omniscience, Omnipresence, the pow- 
er to create ,control, change; a Power in- 
finite, absolute, and eternal ; nevertheless a 
Power which must forever hang potential 
in the universe, till a personal will take hold 
of it and make it dynamic for purposes of 
spiritual evolution. 

Such is the significance of Christ's in- 
junction : "Be ye perfect as your Father in 
heaven is perfect." Christ came to reveal 
God : to show that Godhood could be at- 
tained by man ; nay, to show that unless it 
be attained in some degree, there is no 
eternal life for man. The life and power 

The Spiritual Life. 


he received from the Father he gives unto 
man. He is our Elder Brother; we, too, 
become Sons of God — joint heirs with him. 
To the extent that we attain to Godhood, to 
that extent we shall have glory, dominion, 
and exaltation. He who fails to attain the 
lowest degree of the life of God, must die 
the second death ; for eternal life is nothing 
else than Godhood. 



"Take therefore no thought for the morrow: 
for the morrow shall take thought for the things 
of Itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil 
thereof." — Jesus Christ. 

Somehow the notion is deeply ingrained 
in most people that to be spiritual-minded 
is to be goody-good, to wear a Sunday 
face, and have a prayer-meeting flavor to 
one's conversation ; in short to talk and act 
in a way supposed to be the fashion of that 
indeterminate place called heaven. Uncon- 
sciously the spiritual world is figured as a 
place far away from the natural world ; a 
place to be reached only by death, and then 
only on condition that you have been "good" 
in the conventional religious sense. 

Such a notion is peculiarly attractive to 

The Spiritual Life. 


which the soul must assume in response to 
nature ; in response to the breath of the 
earth and the sky, to the flood-tide of glory 
from the sun, and to the penetrating mystery 
and awe from the stars. To be spiritual- 
minded is to be natural and human — to be 
honestly and truly one's self, however the 
standards of convention may be shocked 
thereby; for in no other attitude of mind, 
can one be in a way to be moulded by the in- 
fluences of the real heaven. 

And what is the real heaven? The sum- 
total of the soul's natural environment at 
any given epoch in its spiritual evolution. 
This environment may change — must 
change, as the exigency of growth and de- 
velopment may demand. And so, far off in 
the future, we shall probably reach a state 
such as the seer of today calls heaven; 
which, however, is not heaven until we are 
fitted for it — indeed, would be hell were we 
suddenly put into it now. Heaven is the 
here and now of any stage in the soul's 
growth, and the spirit of heaven is the spirit 
that breathes in upon us from the natural 
world ; which, however it may change as we 
change, will continue always to be the nat- 
ural world. In other words, it will be just 
that adjustment of environment which the 

25-i The Mormon Point of View. 

the supersentimental or watery, yellowish- 
green type of mankind; with the natural re- 
sult that the vigorously intellectual, the men 
and women of hearty, robust human nature, 
remain by themselves, a class hilariously 
unregenerate ; who, when pressed to join the 
ranks of religion, usually declare that they 
are willing to chance the final reckoning on 
the basis of an honest, moral life, without 
any of the sanctimonious trimmings. 

Let us once and for all lay aside this sick- 
ish-sweet, conventional notion of being "re- 
ligious ;" this hushed and awesome sanctity 
which seizes us in the presence of a minster, 
a church, or a cemetery. Let us lay it in 
the same grave with the groans, the holy 
amens, and all the other species of that 
sniveling, psalm-singing cant with which 
the Pharisee of every age envelopes him- 
self as with a cloak. And if on occasion the 
accumulated hypocrisy and reverence for 
convention transmitted in our blood should 
momentarily betray us, let us go out and 
look the sun squarely in the face, and open 
our lungs to the perennial freshness of na- 
ture ; so shall we purge away the untruth 
which we permitted unwittingly to soil the 
native honesty of our souls. 

For the truly religious attitude is that 

256 The Mormon Point of View. 

Father deems best adapted to react on our 
souls with a view to making them perfect as 
He is perfect. 

But the here and now, or the soul's nat- 
ural environment at any given stage, may 
also be its hell. All depends on its attitude 
toward the universe. Looked at from God's 
point of view, the world of present environ- 
ment is heaven — the highest heaven which 
the soul is capable of apperceiving ; but 
looked at from Lucifer's, — that is to say, 
from the point of view of opposition to God 
and the universe, — it is hell. There remains 
consequently the third or intermediate atti- 
tude, in which nine out of every ten men find 
themselves ; an attitude neither heaven nor 
hell, but one which veers now toward prog- 
ress, now toward retrogression, and which 
must ultimately declare itself for or against 

The spiritual world, as will thus be seen, 
is not a world apart and remote from the 
sphere of daily human experiences: it is 
rather a definite way of looking at these ex- 
periences and drawing truth and character 
from them ; viz., the way in which God 
would look at them and profit by them, were 
he in man's place. To God all things are 
spiritual. At the close of each "day" in 

The Spiritual Life. 


•258 The Mormon Point of Viezv. 

Genesis, He looked upon his work and pro- 
nounced it "good." So to the man in heaven, 
— I mean the man who is living the spiritual 
life on earth, — all God's handiwork is good ; 
and even from the evils of life, — evils re- 
sulting from man's free will clashing with 
eternal law, — he has learned also to extract 
the good. 

Such a man is truly in the kingdom of 
God — heir to all its glory, and joint heir 
with that other Son of God, his Elder 
Brother. All the fruits of the Spirit — love, 
joy, peace — are his, to the extent that his 
soul has capacity for them. If the angels 
near God's throne enjoy greater bliss, it is 
not that they differ from him in species: it 
is simply that they have longer been "born 
of God," and their souls are consequently 
more nearly attuned to the harmonies of the 

How perfectly this thought agrees with 
the passage which declares that the 'king- 
dom of God is within man ;' or the numerous 
passages which set forth that being 'born of 
God' is 'putting on the new man in Christ 
Jesus,' or being 'conformed to the image of 
Jesus Christ.' The universe itself is the 
kingdom of God to the Creator; he then 
who has the kingdom formed within him, 

The Spiritual Life. 


answer in large is that he comes out of 
Babylon into Zion. Many simple-minded 
people have interpreted Christ's warning, 
"Come out of her, my people," to mean a 
bodily exodus, or change of place. It may 
mean this, too, as we shall see presently ; but 
the essential fact in this warning, is to cease 
viewing life and its duties from the trivial, 
criss-cross standpoints of the natural man, 
and begin to view them in the eternal per- 
spective from which God looks at them. For 
as Babylon stands for sin, the natural out- 
come of confusion, so Zion stands for the 
"pure in heart," or righteousness, the nat- 
ural outcome of perceiving and obeying law, 
or the will of God. 

But coming out of Babylon into Zion is 
too general a discription of the change in 
conduct which results from seeing as God 
sees. Let us come to a more detailed ex- 
pression. What changes, for instance, are 
involved in the phvsical life? 

The criterion here, as in all other aspects 
of eternal life, is the Creator himself: "Be 
ye perfect as your Father in heaven is per- 
fect," involves first of all the development of 
a perfect physical body. What that signi- 
fies in large cannot be discussed here. Suffice 
it to say that so far as mortal life goes, it 

must begin to see the universe as God sees 
it. But Christ sees it now as does the Fa- 
ther; consequently to be formed in Christ's 
image is get his point of view, and there- 
fore the Father's, in all things. 

Now if seeing things as God sees them 
constitutes the essential fact of heaven or 
membership in the kingdom of God, then 
seeing things from the view-point of Satan 
must constitute the essential fact of hell. 
What is the essential fact of the intermediate 
ground? A confusion of view points, — an 
endless medley of truth and error. As 
might be expected, this middle ground is a 
hatchery of creeds, orders, societies, relig- 
ions, governments; a seethii^g mass of hu- 
manity struggling for the right, but never 
quite reaching it; "ever learning but never 
coming to the knowledge of the truth." And 
God calls this middle ground Babylon — a 
very appropriate name. 



"And I heard another voice saying, "Come 
out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers 
of her sins and that ye receive not of her 
plagues." — John the Revelator. 

If now it be asked what change is involved 
in a man's life by being 'born of God,' the 

260 The Mormon Point of View. 

may thus be set down. Coming out of 
Babylon in the physical sense involves the 
developing of a body fitted to do the things 
that need to be done. This means first of all 
perfect physical health ; secondly, perfect 
procreative powers ; thirdly, strength and 
skill for physical achievement in the multi- 
form directions required by the work of this 

Needless to say, these results do not come 
through any occult endowment by the Fa- 
ther of those who have entered his kingdom. 
They come first from understanding physical 
law, and second from obeying physical law. 
Seeing as God sees, enables man to know 
what is law ; doing as God would do, enables 
him to reap the physical blessing in terms of 
health, strength, and power to do what needs 
to be done. 

This is the whole mystery of physical sal- 
vation. And no place or time in the uni- 
verse is better for this development than the 
here and now ; for God has arranged in this 
world a certain physical environment, which, 
properly reacted upon by us, builds us up; 
but which improperly reacted upon, or not 
reacted upon at all, breaks us down. Nor is 
prayer or the pouring of oil effectual as sub- 
stitutes for obedience to physical law. All 

The Spiritual Life. 


262 The Mormon Point of View. 

such pitiful subterfuges are properly char- 
acterized by scripture as faith without 
works, and are dead. 

We shall next consider what coming out 
of Babylon means in the intellectual sense. 

The intellectual is the inventive or cre- 
ative aspect of Godhood. It was by virtue 
of this power that our Father made the 
world and all things therein; and all the 
achievements of man, which are summed 
up in the term civilization, would have been 
impossible without this same endowment. 
Man's intellectual powers may differ from 
God's in degree, — even as the tiny sun mir- 
rored in a dew-drop is smaller than its glor- 
ious original, — but they do not differ in 
kind ; and given an eternity in which to in- 
crease in power, they may become perfect 
even as His are perfect. It was therefore 
no mere burst of hyperbole that led the poet 
to exclaim : "What a piece of work is man ! 
How noble in reason, how infinite in facul- 
ties ! In form and moving how express and 
admirable! In action how like an angel, in 
apprehension how like a God !" 

If this power is so essential a part of God- 
hood, it follows that man cannot be saved 
even in the lowest degree of glory without 
its development. Indeed, it is this power 

The Spiritual Life. 


peal , and the maudlin sentimentality of 
song, prayer, and sermon, — which serve to 
keep the man of ideas at home on Sun- 
days, — save by the absence in church service 
of that robust quality of the lecture-room, — 
intellectuality ? ' 

But Zion has by no means worked out this 
aspect of salvation either. The number 
among us who wait for others to chew up 
their intellectual food for them, is appalling* 
There are even those who count it a virtue, 
— in others, let us say, — to have that degree 
of meekness which shall make them "follow 
counsel," without asking why. In order that 
I may not be misunderstood, let us think 
this thought out. 

Suppose a man achieves a certain result 
through meekly, not to say blindly, obeying 
counsel. Is his soul any richer or stronger 
thereby ? Remember, it is not results which 
react to build up character: it is planning. 
The man who let others think for him may, 
in a vulgar sense, possess the extraneous 
results — a fine crop of grain, a million dol- 
lars, a political office, or whatever else the 
paltry outcome may be, — but will he be one 
whit the more intelligent as farmer, finan- 
cier, or politician ? These external results do 

more than any other, that individualizes 
man — makes him a sovereign; without it, 
he distrusts himself, and becomes an echo of 
others. Now if Godhood means anything, 
it means individuality; and Godhood is 
what we begin to partake of when we are 
'born of God.' Fancy a man being saved, 
and yet have to wait for his cue as to right 
and wrong, or the thing to do next, along 
a row of ten thousand other intellectual 
weaklings ! 

And this thought brings us face to face 
with the crying defect in the so-called in- 
tellectual training in the world. Instead of 
making sovereigns of men, it endows one 
here and there, — or rather he endows him- 
self in spite of it, — with independence in 
thought and judgment, and trains ten thou- 
sand others to listen for the tinkle of his bell 
and be content to eat his dust. It is even 
worse in that part of Babylon given over to 
religions. In churches where dogmatism 
rules whatever the priest says is law to the 
people, and whatever the pope says is law to 
the priest. Nor are things improved in the 
boneless, sinewless, nerveless theology of 
emotional religions. How, for instance, can 
you account for the vapid goody-good ap- 

264 The Mormon Point of View. 

not affect his soul ; they go back through 
him to the man that did the thinking: he is 
only an extra limb of that man. 

Salvation is an individual achievement, 
God furnishing the opportunity, It accumu- 
lates, not in terms of extraneous results, as 
so many missions, so much tithing, such 
regularity in prayers, fastings, or meetings, 
so many dollars contributed to building a 
temple, and so on ; it accumulates in terms 
of soul development, in terms of character, 
and intelligence. Results are measures ot 
soul-progress only if they are our results. 
No one else can think our way for us into 
the kingdom of God; for the kingdom can 
never be ours to a greater extent than it 
shall be formed within us, whatever be the 
external pronouncements on our heads. 

"Following counsel," therefore, in the 
sense of letting another decide for you, is 
worthless as a means of salvation. Nay, 
more; it may be vicious as being the very 
source of priestcraft in him who assumes to 
give such advice, and of spiritual slavery in 
him who receives it. But following counsel 
as the expression is used in our Church, — 
that is, receiving instruction from men of 
experience who have one's welfare at heart, 
and then making up one's mind to follow it 

The Spiritual Life. 


Still The Mormon Point of View. 

or not, — that is entirely a different matter. 
It would be difficult to see how unity and 
harmony could be maintained in any social 
organization without such free interchange 
of ideas. 

It is probably the social, moral, and spir- 
itual attributes of the soul which make us 
'good;' if so, it is the intellectual attribute 
which makes us "good for something." Ev- 
erywhere is this power in demand. It is the 
savor of wit, the salt of wisdom, and the 
basic ingredient in common sense: Without 
the tang of intellectuality, prayer, song, and 
discourse become insipid and nauseating; 
with it, properly co-ordinated with feeling, 
they invigorate and stir to action. The 
highest endowment of intellectual power is 
therefore not incompatible with the noblest 
development of the spiritual life. It will be 
only when we shall have among us the in- 
tellectual giants of the race, — specialists in 
all that concerns the advancement of the 
world, — that those predictions will be ful- 
filled which say that Zion shall become a 
light unto the nations. 

Consider then this vital attribute of the 
intellectual life, and ask whether a more 
admirable place and time than the here and 
now could be conceived for its evolution. 

The Spiritual Life. 


they would yet fit man directly for his mis- 
sion in life ; that is, fit him to do the things 
which God would have him do, in assisting 
to regenerate the world. 

Of course where the spiritual life begins 
in a world so warped by convention and tra- 
dition as ours, there is scarcely time, during 
the short period allotted to man on earth, 
to get completely away from Babylon in the 
methods of the soul evolution. It is there- 
fore not disparaging to say that we have not 
yet worked out satisfactorily the problem of 
intellectual education in Zion: our acad- 
emies and colleges being conducted along 
intellectual lines common to similar schools 
in the world. We can at least hold up the 
ideal of strong individualization in thinking 
power as opposed to mere scholarship an i 
the scramble for diplomas. The intellectual- 
ly trained man needs no placard. He is a 
thinker, and counts one anywhere in weight 
and judgment. Fancy announcing by a 
sheepskin on the wall that gold is yellow, 
ductile, and non-corrosive! 

We may now briefly examine some other 
aspects of the spiritual life evolving in the 
natural world. From the fact that immunity 
from suffering is purchasable by living 
hygienic lives, men may be trusted to find 

Problems surmounted and understood are 
the means of its development, and problems 
are everywhere ; inviting attention at eye or 
ear and by taste, or touch, or smell ; prob- 
lems of natural and physical science ; of lit- 
erature and art; of history, economics, and 
sociology, — everywhere are problems. And 
taking into account the whole range of in- 
vestigation open to man, the problems so 
vary in difficulty that there is a place for 
every soul to begin, however low or high in 
the scale of intelligence. Nor would a mil- 
lion years of application exhaust the oppor- 
tunities thus spread before mankind by the 
great Teacher. 

Now while the development of intellectu- 
ality is in no way retarded, but on the con- 
trary is rather accelerated, by the awakening 
of the spiritual life, it is not to be supposed 
that problems would, were we perfectly un- 
der God's guidance, be undertaken in the 
same way as now obtains in the world. This 
part of man's development would be corre- 
lated with all others ; and while it would be 
pure speculation in me to say what that or- 
der must be, this principle would perhaps 
largely govern it. The range of objects 
studied would be such that, while yielding 
intellectual power as their essential product, 

2ti$ The Mormon Point of View. 

out and obey God's will as expressed in 
physical law ; so also, from the fact that in- 
tellectual power is directly related to lead- 
ership and consequently to wealth and social 
prestige, the intellectual side of education is 
likely to grow more and more in accordance 
with divine law. Therefore the man or 
woman guided by the Spirit of God in his 
spiritual development, will not have need to 
diverge as widely from the best standards in 
Babylon in these two aspects, as in that of 
the social and moral world, of which I now 
desire to speak. 

From the nature of the facts, it is extreme- 
ly difficult by human processes of generaliza- 
tion to get at the truth — that is to say, God's 
will, or the harmony of the universe, — in 
social and moral relationships. Take away 
the Ten Commandments, and all the other 
guides to conduct given by revelation, and 
how long would it take the world to general- 
ize these truths from experience? Let us 
grant that no divine nrecept has the effect of 
law upon the race, until experience demon- 
strates over and over the truth of it. Still, 
there it is before the race, as something to be 
tried, even while they are blundering on in 
opposition to it. Suppose it were not there. 
Where would the wisdom come from that 

The Spiritual Life. 


should pick it up from a million cases of 
suffering for want of it, and give it the form 
of law ? 

Nor should it be forgotten that it is for 
the social and moral world that all soul evo- 
lution finds its end and purpose. Heaven, 
the perfect social world, where absolute jus- 
tice presides, and where love, joy, and peace 
are normal social products — this is the ideal 
held out for perfecting our physical as well 
as our intellectual powers. All the raw ma- 
terials for developing social righteousness 
are here: men, women, and the thousand 
relationships, back and forth, which grow 
out of their mutual needs ; and implanted in 
each soul are the germs of the social quali- 
ties to be developed: justice, mercy, truth, 
love. Situations confront us daily and hour- 
ly, which, reacted upon rightly, fit us for 
heaven, by creating heaven within us ; but 
which, reacted upon wrongly, create discord 
within us and, — by the law that we inevit- 
ably act out what we- are — also without us. 
But what is right conduct? Some general 
maxims we have; but the combinations in- 
v61ving their application vary so much that 
they are often honored as much in the 
breach. as in the observance. 

It is here, then, that the spiritually born 

■Z70 The Mormon Point of Vieu: 

reap their greatest blessing. To be in Christ 
as Christ is in the Father; in other wotds, 
to see right and wrong in the social and 
moral world as Christ and the Father see 
them ; to know how to react upon any situa- 
tion, by realizing what the Son of God 
would do — this is the supreme guerdon of 
the spiritual life to man. 

But now comes a crisis in which Babylon 
ceases to be merely a state of mind, and be- 
comes a place from which the convert would 
flee if he could, to Zion — also a place now by 
the same soul experience ; for no sooner does 
he attempt to act out the social truth as God 
makes him feel it, than he finds hhnself iso- 
lated, and so acting toward his fellow-men as 
to call down their execrations upon 1. s head. 
How lonely he feels then ! Straightway the 
inner Zion begins calling for the outer Zion, 
and he must obey. Such is the genesis of 
the spirit of gathering. 

Have I made my thesis clear, that the 
spiritual life is to be lived in ilie natural 
world? Not only is the natural world the 
best place to perfect the spiritual man, it is 
the only place for intelligences organized as 
we are now. Were this not so, God would 
have given us that other place instead of this 

The Spiritual Life. 

v J i. 


The Mormon Point of Vicio. 

one. Here and here only, so far as we are 
concerned, are the problems physical, intel- 
lectual, moral and social, the overcoming of 
which is the means of making us perfect as 
God is perfect. To sigh for a purer, better 
world in order to be more spiritual-minded, 
is flatly to lie down and give up the fight. 
Thank God for the admirable world of sin, 
in which he has placed us; but thank him 
more for showing how to carve heaven out 
of it. 



"Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his 
righteousness and all these things shall be added 
unto you." — Jesus Christ. 

Next to passing from existence into life, 
the most far-reaching event in the evolution 
of a soul is to be born again, "not of the will 
of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of 
God." Passing from existence into life made 
us children of our Father in heaven ; passing 
from pre-existent life into mortality, added 
a new relationship to the 'fathers of our 
flesh,' without changing our first relation- 

ship to the 'Father of Spirits;'* but passing 
from the natural to the spiritual life, makes 
us sons of God — partakers of the power 
which makes our Father in heaven God. 
The first birth was of most importance, for 
without it we should not have seen life at all/ 
the second or birth of the spirit is next in 
importance, for without it this life, now far 
advanced, must begin to stand still, then 
retrograde through various degrees of hell 
to the plane of mere existence. Eternal life 
is possible only by coming into harmony 
with eternal law, and law is the will of God. 
Consider then, how tremendous is this 
epoch of the spiritual life, looked at from 
God's point of view. It is the crisis in the 
psychic evolution of the soul. Without it, 
life such as we have, begins to go back, ulti- 
mately to set beyond the horizon whence it 
rose ; with it the soul shall have no setting, 
but go on and on forever, each crescent 
morn of being climbing to a still more glori- 
ous noon. 

But from man's point of view ? Alas, for 
the confusion of values here below! How 

'Hebrews. 12-9: "Furthermore, we have had 
fathers of our flesh, which corrected us and we 
gave them reverence: shall we not much rather 
be in subjection to the Father of spirits, and 

The Spiritual Life. 

At o 

must our Father in heaven feel, what must 
be the sadness of our guardian angels, when 
the event for which our souls have been 
shaping for perhaps a thousand million 
years, — is passed by, again and again, be- 
cause of some trivial allurement of the phys- 
ical senses! Reckless and heedless children 
of the Infinite that we are ! Giving up our 
title to a star that we may pursue a fire fly ! 

Elsewhere I have placed all intelligences, 
whether in heaven, on earth, or in hell, into 
three classes ; the workers, the worked-with, 
and the damned. The first class comprises 
all who are working intelligently and there- 
fore in harmony with the universe; and by 
intelligently I mean, under the leadership of 
Jesus Christ. The second class includes the 
souls that are striving earnestly perhaps but 
unintelligently, the men and women of mete- 
oric standards ; in other words, the hosts of 
Babylon. They get their name, in this di- 
vision, from the fact that the intelligent 
forces of the universe are ever-striving to 
win them over. The third class is made up 
of souls who, having taken sides against 
God, are thence stricken with lock-jaw of 
the will; that is to say, having sinned 
against the Holy Ghost, it can no longer 
come to them to give them repentance, and 

The Spiritual Life. 


become 'sons of God,' beginners in the realm 
of creation, taking noon themselves God- 
hood — in other words Priesthood — * as 
they shall win victory after victory over en- 

Now is it thinkable that beings eternally 
free could enter into a mutual relationship, 
such as that between God and man, without 
mutual understanding and mutual consent? 
Christ has told us that man cannot come into 
this commonwealth of workers unless the 
"Father draw him." But the Father can 
draw no man who does not consent to be 
drawn. The relationship is therefore a mu- 
tual compact involving covenants. 'Born of 
the water and of the Spirit' is a figurative 
description of these covenants. 'Baptism 
by immersion for the remission of sins and 
the laying on of hands for the reception of 
the Holy Ghost, by one having authority to 
act for God,' — is a more complete statement, 
of the same thing. Let no man beguile him- 
self into thinking he is 'born of God,' who 
neglects these divinely appointed ordinances. 

And now for a moment let us consider 
the medium whence Christ can be in us and 

•Priesthood is evidently related to Godhood 
as part to whole: Godhood In part is Priesthood; 
Priesthood in full is Godhood. 

274 The Mormon Point of View. 

consequently they are damned. To be 
damned is to be fighting the universe, with- 
out power to stop until you are undone. 

The kingdom of God is a commonwealth 
of workers, with Jesus Christ as Captain of 
industry. Work — physical, intellectual, 
moral, social, spiritual — is only another 
name for reacting upon environment, and 
is therefore necessary to salvation. "Hence- 
forth," said Jesus, "I call you not servants ; 
for the servant knoweth not what his lord 
doeth, but I have called you friends: for 
all things that I have heard of my Father, I 
have made known unto you." That is the 
key-word among the spiritually-born ; 
equality to the extent that our souls have at- 
tained capacity for it. In no other way 
could 'we be in Christ, and he in us, even 
as the Father and Son are in each other.' 

Up till the time of spiritual birth men are 
servants, as 'not knowing what their lord 
doeth :' doing things blindly always involves 
servitude. I But thereafter they become free 
to the extent that they know ; not only this, 
to the extent they know, know they know, 
to the extent they realize that in keeping the 
commandments of God, they are obeying 
eternal law, not cringing before the caprice 
of a being supreme by will only. Thus they 

276 The Mormon Point of View. 

we in him ; the well-spring or source of the 
spiritual birth ; the means whereby man may 
look at things from God's point of view, and 
hence be one with Him; the new Life-fluid 
which, out of our daily experiences, organ- 
izes character, power, Godhood ; just as the 
mysterious life of the vine organizes, from 
earth and air, the leaves, the flowers, the 
fruit, and the vine itself. This medium be- 
tween God and man is called in scripture the 
Holy Ghost 

If we can conceive the "cosmic fluid" 
which fills the universe so impressed in rate 
of vibration by the will of the Creator, as to 
present the various phenomena of light, 
heat, electricity, actinism, chemism, and 
perhaps gravitation, it should not be difficult 
to conceive the will of God so coloring 
and surcharging the same ' infinite medium 
with his thought and feeling that it can, by 
the law of telepathy, reach and influence the 
soul of man; to the extent that it shall 
awaken and nourish his dormant spiritual 
nature, even as a sunbeam warms to life and 
being the lily of the field. 

"And I will pray the Father," said Christ 
when he was about to depart, "and he shall 
send you another Comforter, that he may 
abide with you forever; even the Spirit of 

The Spiritual Life. 


7S The Mormon Point of View. 

It "O 

truth ; whom the world cannot receive, be- 
cause it seeth him not, neither knoweth him ; 
but ye know him ; for he dwelleth with you 

and shall be in you And he will guide 

you into all truth : for he shall not speak of 
himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that 
shall he speak ; and he shall show you things 
to come. He shall glorify me : for he shall 
receive of mine, and shall show it unto 

Tt is through this Spirit that we are com- 
forted, if consolation is what our souls stand 
in need of; and enlightened, if truth be the 
food we lack. In like manner it dispenses 
love, joy, peace, long-suffering, and all the 
other attributes of God, even as man's life 
shall have need of them. Indeed, it is the 
source of the spiritual life ; ministering as 
easily to all the requirements of man's psy- 
chic evolution, as the sun nourishes and 
brightens alike each of a thousand hues in 
the flowers on the breast of mother earth. 

Let us not forget, however, that this Spirit 
abides with man, not primarily because of 
works, which may be utterly mechanical and 
lifeless, but because man gives his heart to 
God, reserving nothing, but loving Him 
with all his might, mind, and strength. Un- 
•John, 14: 16 and 16: 13, 14. 

The Spiritual Life. 


barter of equivalents: so many require- 
ments made by God in terms of prayer, 
song, tithes, meetings, rites, ceremonies, or- 
dinations, and endowments, on the one hand, 
and such salvation and exaltation as a re- 
ward on the other. Who would be so rash 
as to say there are no Pharisees among Lat- 
ter-day Saints today ? 

The danger of pharisaism is greatest per- 
haps in the education of our children. 
Trained from childhood by conscientious 
parents to revere the outward forms of re- 
ligion, they are often held mechanically to 
external works of righteousness, as if salva- 
tion depended primarily upon these things. 
Fortunately, however, there is in the Church 
of Christ no ulterior motive for keeping up 
so artificial a relationship ;*and so one of two 
things usually takes place: either they sink 
into a state of indifference in order to (escape 
the pecuniary sacrifices and unpopularity in- 
volved in active membership, or else the 
vital spark of spirituality is kindled in their 
bosoms, and so the works they have been 
accustomed to doing, cease to be perfunctory 
and mechanical. 

•Unless the desire to be married in the 
Temple of the Lord, be such an external motive. 
In most such cases, the Pharisaism lasts only 
long enough to accomplish this purpose, when 
it subsides to the state of indifference. 

der such circumstances, there [ cannot 
fail to be works ; but the works which count 
for life eternal are those only which are the 
natural reactions of grace, just as the leaf 
and flower are the inevitable outflowing of 
the life of the vine. 

It is here that danger lurks in our re- 
ligious life as a community. As there can be 
no true grace that does not express itself in 
works of righteousness, so we are likely to 
believe the converse equally true, and con- 
sequently urge men to godly works as the 
only means of salvation. But in this we 
may be utterly mistaken : works of right- 
eousness may be carried out, under the 
stimulus of religious association, which are 
no more related to the spiritual life of him 
who does them, than branches tacked or 
glued on are vital parts of a growing vine. 

Such works the Pharisees were very 
punctilious in performing, yet Christ had no 
other name for them than hypocrites and 
whited sepulchers; and Pharisees, let it be 
remembered, are not peculiar to any time 
or country. They are usually men and wo- 
men without imagination, who would accu- 
mulate salvation on the same principle that 
they fill their barns and granaries ; and who 
consequently look upon eternal life as a 

280 The Mormon Point of View. 

How to awaken the spiritual life of our 
children and so make a living bond between 
them and God, must ever remain the ques- 
tion before all other questions for Latter-day 
Saints to face. Habituating them by ex- 
ternal pressure to works of righteousness 
is not the solution, as the thousands of 
young people who drift away from us into 
the world yearly must sufficiently testify. 
Space will not here permit me to take up all 
the bearings of this question. Let me close 
this article by re-stating it in the terms of 
Christ's parable of the vine and branches. 

Children born under the covenant evident- 
ly stand in a relationship to the spiritual life 
different from that of converts from the 
world. If the latter may be represented by 
buds placed into the vine, then the former 
may be represented by natural buds formed 
on the vine. Now, buds placed in a vine 
may or may not grow and partake of the life 
of the trunk, but the natural buds are likely 
to do so. By how much more likely the 
natural buds are to have life in them than 
are the engrafted ones, by that much chil- 
dren of the covenant are more intimately 
related to the spiritual life, than are children 
of Babylon. 

But natural buds sometimes remain dor- 

The Spiritual Life. 


282 The Mormon Point of View. 

mant, and this fact, as long as it holds, pre- 
vents them from becoming vital parts of the 
tree. The question, as applicable to my 
point is, how to force a dormant bud into 
life. Sometimes the bark of succeeding 
growths overlaps and buries it so deeply as 
to make its sprouting all but impossible. 

By virtue of birth under the covenant, as 
also by virtue of baptism at eight years of 
age, our children are, like natural buds, filled 
with the potentiality of eternal life. But 
it sleeps in them, in nine cases out of ten. 
Their baptism and confirmation place them 
in the Church : they are not yet of it. No 
power save their own and God's combined 
can make them of it. Meanwhile the bles- 
sing of the spiritual life, the promise of 
grace involved in their baptism and con- 
firmation, hangs over them, awaiting such 
time as they shall have the faith to call upon 
God for themselves, and shall desire — more 
than they desire anything else on earth — to 
be numbered among the workers under 
Jesus Christ: then and then only will the 
eternal life be born in them. 

How to awaken the spiritual life of our 
children, already in the church yet not of it, 
is, I repeat, the supreme question. And here, 
too, the operation becomes the more difficult 

as layer after layer of sin and worldliness 
have buried the precious bud from the light. 
This last condition at least every parent can 
prevent, if he will; the other condition, that 
of developing a testimony of the Gospel in 
the child, comes also within the range of a 
wise parent's influence. And so having in- 
troduced the most important aspect of my 
present theme, I leave it to the thought of 
my readers, and perhaps to some future dis- 
cussion in the Mormon Point of View. 


Thus far the "Dictionary of Slander" has 
been devoted mainly to the refutation of 
slanders connected with the Book of Mor- 
mon. One more matter may briefly be 
touched upon in the same connection; viz., 
the conflicting statements of Martin Harris 
and Professor Anthon with reference to 
what took place at their famous interview 
respecting the characters transcribed by the 
Prophet from the Gold Plates. The com- 
plete statements are too long for insertion 
here. I therefore make such excerpts from 
each as shall enable the reader to form 
some judgment as to their relative merits. 

The Hums-Anlhon E^isnit 


25 3 

If ever there was a doubting Thomas, yet 
one honestly bent upon testing the claims of 
the youthful Prophet, that man was Martin 
Harris; and he had a wife more skeptical 
than himself, — and less honest, perhaps, if 
one may judge by the outcome of their 
lives. Naturally, therefore, he could not be 
induced to advance means toward translat- 
ing and publishing the Book of Mormon 
without satisfactory proof that Joseph's 
claims were genuine. The time had not yet 
come to show the Plates to chosen witnesses, 
consequently Martin could not reassure 
himself by an examination of the original; 
the Prophet did the next best thing for him : 
he made a copy consisting of seven parallel 
lines of the characters on the Plates, and 
subjoined thereto a translation of them.* 

Here was a means of satisfying himself, 
and perhaps of convincing his wife, who 
strongly opposed his associations with Jo- 
seph Smith. He first called on Dr. Samuel 
L. Mitchell of New York, who, unable to 
give him any satisfaction referred him to 
Prof. Charles Anthon. The following is in 

•This transcript is now in the hands of the 
descendants of David Whitmer, one of the Three 
Witnesses. Copies have been rather widely pub- 
lished, a nd so I do not reproduce them here. 

!28-t The Mormon Point of View. 

part what the latter has to say of the inter- 
view : 

"Upon examining- the paper in question, I 
soon came to the conclusion that it was all a 
trick — perhaps a hoax. When I asked the per- 
son who brought it, how he obtained the writing. 
he gave me the following account [with which 
the reader is already familiar]. The farmer add- 
ed that he had been requested to contribute a 
sum of money toward the publication of the 
Golden Book So urgent had been these solic- 
itations, that he intended selling his farm and 
giving the amount to those who wished to pub- 
lish the plates. As a last precautionary step, he 
had resolved to come to New York, and obtain 
the opinion of the learned about the meaning of 

the paper On hearing this odd story, I 

changed my opinion about the paper, and in- 
stead of viewing it any longer as a hoax, I be- 
gan to regard it as part of a scheme to cheat the 
farmer of his money, and I communicated my 
suspicions to him to beware of rogues. He re- 
quested an opinion from me in writing, which 
of course, I declined to give, and he then took his 
leave, taking his paper with him."* 

The points to bear in mind from this ex- 
cerpt are three: (i) Martin Harris is said 
to have made the interview with Anthon 
a test of whether or not to advance money 
to Joseph Smith; (2) Professor Anthon 
claims to have pointed out in strong terms 
that the characters on the paper were the 
trick of a rogue who was after Harris's 
money; (3) Anthon claims that he refused 
to give Harris a written opinion. We may 

•Letter to E. D. Howe, dated February 17, 
18.14. four years after the Book of Mormon waa 

The Harris- Anthon Episode. 


280 The Mormon Point of View. 

now introduce Joseph Smith's statement of 
the report made by Martin Harris on his re- 

"Professor Anthon stated that the transla- 
tion was correct, more so than any he had before 
seen translated from the Egyptian. I then 
showed him those which were not yet translated, 
and he said that they were Egyptian, Chaldaic, 
Assyriac, and Arabic, and he said that they were 
the true characters. He gave me a certificate 
certifying to the people of Palmyra that they 
were true characters, and that the translation 
of such of them as had been translated was cor- 
rect. I took the certificate and put it into my 
pocket, and was just leaving the house, when 
Mr. Anthon called me back, and asked me how 
the young man found out that there were gold 
plated in the place where he found them. I an- 
swered that an angel of God had revealed It 
unto him. 

"He then said to me, 'L,et me see that certifi- 
cate.' I accordingly took it out of my pocket 
and gave it to him, when he took it and tore It 
to pieces, saying that there was no such thing 
now as the ministering of angels, and that if I 
would bring the plates to him he would translate 
them. I informed him that part of the plates 
were sealed, and that I was forbidden to bring 
them. He replied, 'I cannot read a sealed book.' " 

There will perhaps be no getting at the 
exact truth in this episode. It is the privilege 
of every man interviewed to deny and de- 
nounce any statement attributed to him, if 
not over his own signature; and the exam- 
ples of altercation between interviewer and 
interviewed have been numerous enough, 
both before and after this event, not to occa- 
sion surprise at the fact of discrepancies. 

The Harris- Anthon Episode. 

that he was only a pseudo scholar, who 
might feel it necessary to his reputation to 
pass instant judgment upon anything oc- 
cult in ancient languages. How could such 
a man pose as learned before the "plain, 
simple-hearted farmer," by even a moment's 
hesitation ? 

It must next be remembered that there 
was no social reason for an adverse report, 
"Mormonism" not being in existence as yet. 
The story told by Harris would appeal pure- 
ly to the antiquarian, not the religious bigot. 
If it be urged that the story itself was in- 
credible, let the reader bethink himself of 
the "gold-brick" inventions that have caught 
wiseacres of the library many a time before 
and since. 

As to the exact terms of the certificate 
claimed to have been handed to him, Mr. 
Harris's memory may be excused if it err in 
detail or degree of emphasis ; since he can 
hardly be said to have read it twice, before it 
was destroyed. It is a vital question, how- 
ever, whether he received such a written 
statement from Prof. Anthon at all. That 
he did, I shall now prove from Anthon him- 
self, in spite of his emphatic denial. 

On April 3, 1841, seven years after his 
letter to Howe, and when he had probably 

Nevertheless, it will probably be worth our 
while to balance probabilities in this case ; 
especially as every anti- Mormon writer 
makes much of what he calls the manufac- 
tured testimony of Martin Harris. 

In the first place, if we may judge by the 
result, then Martin's testimony must be be- 
lieved, since so far from being discouraged 
by Anthon's words, he went back to Joseph, 
acted as scribe for three months, and when 
the time came, actually sold his farm to se- 
cure the money necessary to publish the 
first edition of the book. 

On carefully examining some parts of 
his report, we may well conclude that 
he is guilty of that common fault of 
the ardent convert, especially if he be 
unlettered, — overstatement. Anthon might 
have said that the characters were a 
medley of "Chaldaic, Assyriac, Arabic, and 
Egyptian," since such a general description 
is suggested by them ; but he would hardly 
have said that they were 'true characters' 
and that the 'translation was correct;' that 
is, if we give him credit for being really a 
careful scholar. Characters of this type are 
deciphered with too much labor and un- 
certainty to pronounce glibly upon them at 
sight. There is, of course, the possibility 

2SS The Mormon Point of View. 

forgotten just what that letter contained, he 
wrote another on the same subject to the 
Rev. T. W. Coit, of New Rochelle, N. Y., 
from which I cull this paragraph : 

"On my telling the bearer of the paper, that 
an attempt had been made to impose on him and 
defraud him of his property, he requested me to 
give him my opinion in writing about the paper 
which he had shown to me. I did so without 
hesitation, partly for the man's sake, and partly 
to let the "man behind the curtain' see that his 
trick was discovered. The import of what I 
wrote was, as far as I can now recollect, simply 
this, that the marks in the paper appeared to be 
merely an imitation of various alphabetical 
characters, [thus confirming Harris's 'Assyriac, 
Chaldaic, Arabic, and Egyptian' statement], and 
had, in my opinion, no meaning at all connected 
with them. The countryman then took his 
leave, with many thanks, and with the express 
declaration that he would in no shape part with 
his farm, or embark in the speculation of print- 
ing the golden book." 

But it is not in this discrepancy alone that 
Mr. Anthon's memory fails to guide him 
aright. In his first letter he describes the 
contents of the paper as follows: "Roman 
letters inverted or placed sidewise were ar- 
ranged and placed in perpendicular columns, 
and the whole ended in a rude delineation of 
a circle, divided into various compartments, 
arched with various strange marks, and evi- 
dently copied after the Mexican calendar, by 
Humboldt." As a matter of fact, the de- 
scription fits in scarcely any detail. The 
characters were arranged in seven parallel 

The Harris- Anthon Episode. 2h9 


The Mormon Point of View. 

lines, after the order of Hebrew script, and 
without any suggestion of the perpendicular 
columns, the circle with its various compart- 
ments, or the Mexican zodiac. 

Consider now what must have been Mr. 
Anthon 's frame of mind when he wrote that 
letter. Naturally the first Mormon mis- 
sionaries made much of this Harris-Anthon 
interview and its outcome, which they in- 
terpreted as the fulfillment of a prediction 
by Isaiah (29:11 to 14) which reads as fol- 

"The vision of all Is become unto you as 
the words of a book that Is sealed, which men 
deliver to one that is learned, saying, Head this, 
I pray thee; and he saith, I cannot for It is 
sealed : and the book is delivered to one that Is 
not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee, and 
he saith, I am not learned. Wherefore the Lord 
said. For as much as this people draw near me 
with their mouths, and with their lips do honor 
me, but have removed their hearts far from me, 
and their fear toward me is taught by the pre- 
cepts of men; therefore, behold, I will proceed 
to do a marvelous work among this people, even 
a marvelous work and a wonder: for the wisdom 
of their wise men shall perish, and the under- 
standing of their prudent men shall be hid." 

This 'marvelous work and wonder' was 
interpreted to be the restoration of the Gos- 
pel in its pristine fulness and power; in 
other words, "Mormonism." The book that 
was handed to the 'learned saying, Read this 
I pray thee,' was figured in Mormon dis- 

T/te Harris Anthon Episode. 291 

surely curiosity if nothing else, would have 
prompted him to accept the book. He saw ; 
however, no better way to relieve his feel- 
ings than to refuse it the harbor of his home. 
And he closes his letter to Mr. Howe in this 
characteristic fashion: "I must beg of you, 
as a personal favor, to publish this letter im- 
mediately, should you find my name men- 
tioned again by these wretched fanatics." 

Suppose now that Mr. Anthon had said 
and done, not all that Martin Harris claimed, 
— for it is well to allow something to over 
statement, — but substantially what was 
claimed ; as he might readily have done in 
an early day, when no opprobrium could be 
imagined as attaching to his statements: 
would he or would he not take occasion to 
deny it later? Remember that by doing so 
he would not only be believed but applauded 
by those whose good opinion he courted ; nor 
would he lose anything in self respect, since 
if he did say those things he wauld easily 
convince himself that he had been imposed 
upon. And what would be the use of ad- 
mitting even a mistake ? Especially as to do 
so would evidently be at the cost of popular 
ostracism . 

Personally I believe strongly in the case 
as I have stated it; let the reader believe as 

courses to be the Book of Mormon ; and the 
result of the attempt on the part of the 
learned to read it was held to be set forth 
in the phrase, "the wisdom of their wise men 
shall perish and the understanding of their 
prudent men shall be hid, "since the book was 
brought out by one that was not learned. 

Think how galling it must have been to 
the pride of this New York savant, to be 
twitted by his academic fellows as one whom 
the Mormons named regularly in their ser- 
mons ; an early proselyte ; a man who had 
given the countenance of learning to re- 
ligious vagaries that made the scurvy propa- 
gators of them the by-word of respectable 
orthodoxy ! 

Something of his state of mind breathes 
out in these letters ; wherein he says that the 
same countryman came to him later with a 
"translation in English of the 'Golden 
Bible'," of which he desired to make him a 
present. "The more I declined receiving it, 
however, the more urgent the man became 
in offering the book, until at last I told 
him plainly that if he left the volume, as 
he said he intended to do, I should most as- 
suredly throw it after him as he departed." 

Think of the exasperation implied in this 
threat. Had his mind been normally sane, 

The Mormon Point of View. 

he is constrained. Suppose he decide in 
favor of Anthon and against Harris. Well, 
what of it? I protest against the use made 
of this incident to blacken the character of 
the Latter-day Saints. Mormonism is not 
responsible for the want of veracity in any 
man or set of men. The Gospel draws many 
a weak man into the fold ; but it does not 
draw him by reason of his weakness, but 
because of some element of righeousness 
that his weaknesses have not choked out. 
Harris proved in many ways a sinful man ; 
but his weakness never once took the form 
of impeachable testimony, and therefore he 
deserves to be believed, — with certain res- 
ervations as to verbal accuracy, which I have 
pointed out, — in this first important stand 
respecting the new dispensation of the Gos- 

A Quarterly Maqnzine, owned atxl eUite't by .V. L. Selnon, 
Professor of Etiylislt, Itriyham Young Unitemity. Price. 
$1.00 a year; tingle copies, -tor. Knteved in the Postoj/ice at 
Provo Lily, Utah, as seeond-rlas* matter. 

Vol. I. 

1'rovo City, Utah, October 1, IHM. 

No. 4 


CISCO "'bulletin/' 

Beneath our forty stars is she 
The purest woman, sweetest, best. 
Who ioves her spouse most ardently 
And rocks the cradle oftenest; 
Whose home is filled, whose heart Is fed 
With halo of a baby's head. 

How pitiful that we must pay 
And pension man for killing- man, 
While woman brings forth as she may. 
Unpaid, unpensioned, as she can; 
Gives life while man takes life away. 

Gives life, gives love because she must. 
How sad that we must pension, pay 

•During President Roosevelt's western trip, 
the various cities endeavored to out-do each 
other in honoring the distinguished guest. The 
women of Salt Lake City greeted the nation's 
chief with thousands of babes in their arms. 
The pink- faced infants cooed a welcome that 
must have filled his big heart with Joy; and 
doubtless had be been called upon to decide 
which city had pleased him most he would have 
given the palm to Zion. In an address some 
time previous the President had expressed re- 
gret that the old-fashioned prolific American 
mother was becoming a thing of the past; and 
this it was which suggested to the Salt Lake 
mothers their unusual welcome. 

294 The Mormon Point of View. 

Our tallest, bravest and our best 
For killing brave men, east or west. 
Until our race is in the dust, 
As Greece is in the dust to-day; 
A tomb of glory gone away. 

I say the mothers of strong men. 
Strong men and merry men and tall, 
Must build, must man the Spartan wall 
And keep it stoutlv manned as when 
Greece won the world, nor wrecked at all. 
I say that she must man the wall. 
The wall of breasts, unshielded, bare, 
The wall to do, the wall to dare, 
The wall of men, or we must fall. 
I say that she, strong-limbed and fair, 
Deserves the pay, the pension, care. 

Of all brave, heartfelt welcomes found 

Where flowers strew the fragrant ground 

And rainbow banners fret the air 

By city, hamlet, anywhere. 

In Midland, Southland, Northland, West, 

I reckon Utah's first and best. 

Not guns to greet the nation's chief, 

Not trumpets blaring to the sun. 

Not scars of glory and of grief. 

Not thrice told tales of battles fought, 

Not seas of flowers at his feet, 

Not bold to glitter and to greet, 

But Utah brought her babes, and brought 

Not one babe fretted or afraid. 

Not one that cried or wailed, not one. 

Oh, what to this the booming gun? 

Oh, what to this the loud parade? 

Proud troop to troop poured manifold 

In battle banners rampt with gold? 

Just babies, babies, healthful, fair. 
From where the Wasatch lion leaps, 
From sunless snows, from desert deeps. 
Just babies, babies, everywhere; 
Just babes in arms, at mother's breast. 
And robust boys with girls at play, 
With pounding fists, too full to rest; 
As chubby, fat, as fair as they. 

Roundelay of Salt Lake. 295 

296 The Mormon Point of View. 

Behold you seas of alkali. 

Of sand, of salt, of dried up seas. 

Then shelter by these watered trees 

And humbly dare to question why 

These countless babes, these mothers, aye, 

The maid in love, the lad at play. 

All seem so gladsome, bright and gay? 

Who tented here, who brake the sod, 
Subdued the Artemisia's strength 
With patient Ruth at ready call? 
Who faced the red man at arm's length 
And she beside him first to fall, 
And while he prayed the living God? 
Who gat such babes as never man 
Had looked upon since time began? 
And why? Because the loving sire 
Loved life and hated low desire; 
He loved his babes, he loved his kind 
By desert waste of mountain wind; 
He watched his happy babes at play 
The while he gloried, glad as they. 

This John the Baptist, naked, lean, 
Lorn, crying in the wilderness. 
This half fanatic, Luther, Huss, 
Whom we once mocked in his distress, 
Stands better than the best of us; 
Stands nearer Jesus, God, because 
He loves His babes, obeys His laws — 
Becuase his hands, his feet are clean; 
Because he loves his hearth, his home, 
And patient heaps the honeycomb. 

Behold yon million desert miles 
With scarce a plow, with scant a tree, 
Save where this desert garden smiles 
And robust babes leap merrily I 
Behold our boundless seas, as chare 
Of sails as yonder peaks are bare! 

Tea. give us babes at home, where now 
Ye hide and house on every street 
Such things as 'twere a shame to meet — 
Glad babes to build and guide the prow. 
Possess the isles, protect and bear 
The star-built banner here — or there! 
Till then, hands off, my Pharisee, 
And tend your own affairs, as they, 
Of Utah tend their own to-day. 
Lest from the mouths of babes ye be 
Condemned and damned eternally! 

Then give us babes, babes of your own, 
My meddling congressmen and men 
Of cloth, with great brains In the chin; 
Glad babes like these to plow the seas. 
Strong babes like these to plow or spin. 
And let this Bedouin alone 

298 The Mormon Point of View. 


A Christmas Story. 

A shadow hung over the little farm. In- 
stead of the usual sounds of song and 
laughter there was silence. All went about 
their work sadly. 

John Trueman, as was his custom, sup- 
erintended the chores ; but there was a sign 
of suppressed emotion, even in his strong 
face. His lips were drawn firmly to- 
gether and ever now and then his 
hand trembled and impulsively his fist 
doubled tightly. He was evidently endur- 
ing a severe mental struggle. His voice 

•This story was written by a young lady 
In one of my English classes In the Brigham 
Young University. I had encouraged her to 
enter the contest for a certain prize Christmas 
story, and when she asked me to suggest plot 
and atmosphere, I told her to draw upon the 
experiences of her own admirable home. That 
she has done so, accounts for the charming 
flavor of real life running through it. Not 
winning the prize, it is, by the author's per- 
mission, published here, and with a two-fold 
purpose: first, to supplement the leading ar- 
ticle of this number by an aspect of Mormon 
family life purposely left out of consideration 
In that article in view of this story; and, sec- 
ondly, to indicate that no true Latter-day Saint 
Is ashamed of a past social relation which has 
given to Mormondom many of its noblest and 
brightest men and women of today. 

was subdued, but there was a perceptible 
tremor in it, as now and then he directed 
the boys about their work. Few words were 
spoken but each face told that something 
had happened. 

"It's a cussed shame," muttered Harry, 
as he climbed into the great loft to pitch 
down some hay. 

"The dogs!" said Charley to Frank as 
they sat milking cows in adjoining stalls. 
"The scoundrels! It's an outrage on an in- 
nocent man." 

"You mustn't blame the officers," replied 
his brother. They are only doing their 
duty. Blame the law." 

"Yes, a fine law it is that won't let a man 
live quietly with his family, without being 
hunted down like a cur and thrown into 
prison. It's an outrage beneath the lowest 

"Wish I was a man," chipped in little 
Ned, who was holding Brock's tail while 
Charley milked. "You bet I'd show 'em 
how to take my Papa to prison. Say, don't 
you wish old Gray had got drowned that 
time he fell in the creek when he was hunt- 
ing for Papa last summer?" 

"Hush ! my child, You must not talk that 

For Conscience Sake. 


way," said the father who overheard the 
last remark. 

"Boys, are you about through ? Harry, 
you better go and see that the cellar is well 
covered. It's going to be a cold night. 
Frank, did you give Blossom plenty of 
grain? If you are through milking, you 
better put the blanket on her. Lock the 
barn doors, Charley, and be sure to fasten 
the gates. I'll take the milK and go on to 
the house. Ned, can you bring the lant- 

In the farm-house the same gloomy spirit 
prevailed. Emily and Clara prepared the 
supper in silence ; Maud sat looking out of 
the window, her book lying unopened in her 
lap ; noisy little Mary was silent ; Sadie 
walked slowly up and down the floor with 
the baby ; the younger children, Fanny 
Alice, Tom and Bob, sat in their little 
chairs, their heads on their hands, gazing 
earnestly into the bright fire. 

Aunt Mary was in the bath-room sort- 
ing over the clean linen, while in an ad- 
joining bed-room, Aunt Helen bent over 
the cradle of little sick Theron. Aunt 
Maggie passed quietly from room to room 
seeing to things in general : now filling the 

300 The Mormon Point of View. 

.tea-kettle or scalding pans ; now taking 
medicine or hot flannels into the sick-room. 
They were all sad and thoughtful. Now 
and then the tears tickled clown Aunt 
Helen's cheeks and on to little Theron's 

Once Mary, with eyes flashing indignant- 
ly,, said, "It's a shame! It's a mean, wicked 
shame !" and she gave the open fire a vig- 
orous punch with the tongs. 

Little Tom, who had leaned his head 
against the mantle-piece and gone to sleep, 
started at the unusual tones, and rubbing 
his eye said, "Say Bob, do you think they's 
any bears in prison ?" 

"What ivill we do without him?" asked 
Emily, and then even Aunt Maggie's lips 
trembled. Presently Brother Trueman 
came into the house. He set the milk on 
the bench, went out to the spout to wash 
his hands, then stepped softly into the sick 
room. Kissing Aunt Helen and kneeling 
down by the cradle, he took the little fev- 
erish hand and said : 

"Papa's little man is better to-night, isn't 
he?" and the little sufferer looked up 
brightly at the sound of the familiar voice. 

"Papa, when tin I see Toby?" asked the 

For Conscience Sake. 


30! The Mormon Point of View. 

"I hope it won't be long, my pet. Toby 
is lonesome without Theron." 

"Me 'oves Toby and you an' Mama." 

Just then Aunt Maggie came in and lay- 
ing one hand on her husband's shoulder 
and the other on the head of the younger 
wife, said, 

"Now, Helen, you and John go into sup- 
per and I'll stay with baby." 

As has been already intimated John 
Trueman was a polygamist. He lived on 
a comfortable farm, a few miles from O — 
in Southern Utah. His was one of those 
large families that lived in perfect har- 
mony. He had three wives and fifteen 
children, and they were bound by the 
strongest ties of love and unity. 

John Trueman was a plain man in ap- 
pearance and manners, but he had a strong 
wholesome character, was a sincere Latter- 
day Saint, and an affectionate husband and 
father. He held duty and honor as the two 
guiding stars of his life. 

Just now he was facing a circumstance 
that gave his character the severest test. 
Like so many of his brave and noble breth- 
ren, he had for years been persecuted, by 
what seemed to him, a cruel, unjust law: 

For Conscience Sake. 


at Deputy Gray who had just entered the 

The two men had been on one of their 
raids in Southern Utah and were staying 
over night in a hotel at O — . Gray was as 
vile a character, as the scum of the Mor- 
mon-haters could produce. Strong was a 
lawyer, honest and fair-minded, who not 
thriving in his profession, had accepted the 
office of deputv U. S. Marshal, during the 
period known as the Raid. It was through 
Strong's influence that John Trueman had 
been given a few days' grace, owing to the 
sickness of his child, and had been left to 
report on his word of honor. 

"What's up?" repeated Gray. 

"Well, I'm afraid he's going to skip to- 
night. Donald reports some suspicious 
movements. This morning one of 
Trueman's boys came tearing up to the 
Bishop's on that fast horse of theirs, and 
Don saw them hold an excited council. 
Then the kid hurried back to the farm. 
You know Ashby is no friend of ours, and 
I'm dead sure something's in the wind." 

"No, Grav, John Trueman, Mormon or 
not, is a man of his word," answered 

and now for having been a man true to his 
family, he was, like some wretched crimi- 
nal to be thrown into prison. 

Late in the afternoon on the day our 
story opens, he had been arrested and was 
to leave home in just four days for an in- 
definite period of incarceration. He was 
willing to suffer for conscience sake, as so 
many of his brethren were doing, but just 
now the condition seemed doubly hard. His 
oldest son was on a mission to England, 
and Harry, the next, was somewhat wild 
and reckless, knowing little of responsi- 
bility. Baby Theron lay suffering with ty- 
phoid, and some of the other children were 
just at an age when they most needed a 
father's counsel and guidance. His heart 
ached when he thought of leaving them, — 
perhaps for years ; but he had accepted his 
cross bravely and looked to God for 
strength and comfort. 


"Judge, I'm afraid you've made a devil 
of a mess of that Trueman affair." 

"Why, what's up now?" asked Philip 
Strong, looking over the top of his paper 

304 The Mormon Point of View. 

"I'm not so sure. These 'cohabs' are 
d — d tricky cusses. I wish we hadn't 
been so easy with him. But here comes 
Donald. Any more news ?" 

The new-comer, a recent law graduate, 
was on a visit to Judge Strong's and had 
accompanied the officers just to "see the 
Mormons in their dens." Seating himself 
and stretching his legs before the open 
grate he answered : 

"The kid's dead. Died in the night, so 
I heard a man say in the store." 

"He'll sure slope before morning then," 
resumed Gray. 

"/ say, he will keep his word. Besides, 
do you think he would miss his baby's 
funeral?" asked Strong. 

"Any how, I think it would be safer to 
look around a little to-night. We can't be 
sure of that kind of game till they're under 
lock and key." 

Deputy Gray then seated himself, light- 
ed a cigar and having gazed a few moments 
at the burning logs, broke into a fit of 
laughter. His companions looked up in- 
quiringly. "And so, Don, you've lost 
your heart to the little Mormon gal? 
Oh, you're on to your job, alright. Just 

For Conscience Sake. 


help us get the old man out of the way and 
then steal the girl. Ha ! ha ! ha ! the nephew 
of Judge Strong in love with a polygamist's 
daughter !" 

"Who said I was in love with her?" re- 
torted the young man testily. "I simply 
passed my opinion that — what did you say 
her name is? — was a deucedly pretty girl 
and that it was a cussed shame she was in 
such a family." 

"Don't be too free and easy with Mor- 
mon girls, young man" counseled the 
Judge. "These people are rather fanatical 
about Gentiles, and it might not be safe to 
play the gay, young Lothario, here." 

"Much obliged for your advice, uncle; 
but you just watch me take care of my- 
self — and her, too, if I want to." 

The probability that John Trueman 
would give the officers the slip was then 
discussed at length, and it was decided to 
be on hand that night at the ranch, should 
he attempt to do so. 


The word brought to the village store 
had been only too true. Little Theron, 
growing worse and worse in spite of the 
loving hearts and anxious faces around 

For Conscience Sake. 


What a picture they make — those true 
women elapsed in each other's arms at the 
head of the dead child. 

"Helen, there are things worse than 
death, things in comparison with which 
death seems sweet. Do not grieve, he is 
happy. See how peaceful he looks. Do not 
make him unhappy by your sorrow." 

Thus did one unselfish woman, made 
noble and strong by a life of daily self- 
sacrifice, console another, younger and less 

How slowly that sad night passed. The 
great clock in the dining-room solemnly 
ticked the weary hours away, and at last 
morning dawned. But how lonely and 
quiet it seemed. 

Friends came to the farm to help prepare 
the little one for burial and about four 
o'clock in the afternoon a quiet funeral was 

How beautiful the choir sang, 
"Your sweet little rose-bud has left you, 
To bloom in a holier sphere." 
And how soothing were the words of 
hope and comfort which fell from the lips 
of dear Bishop Ashby and kind old Broth- 
er Adams. 

306 The Mormon Point of View. 

him, died about one o'clock the night be- 

Aunt Helen was heart-broken. Was 
this her babe, her beautiful darling? And 
would she never more hear the prattle 
of his little tongue; never more feel the 
soft pressure of his little arms about her 
neck or his rosy cheeks against her own? 

For a time she refused to be comforted. 
Like all young mothers enduring their first 
great sorrow, she forgot that other souls 
have suffered. 

Aunt Maggie and Aunt Mary laid out 
the cold little form in the parlor, and had 
scarcely finished their gentle service when 
the grief-striken mother entered the room, 
supported on the arm of her. husband. 

Raising her sad eyes and meeting the 
gentle sympathetic condolence of the older 
women, Helen seemed to realize for the 
first time that other hearts had throbbed 
and bled as her own was doing now. Her 
heart melted with sudden love at the sight 
of this unobtrusive sympathy; for what 
bond is so strong as that between mothers 
who have suffered kindred sorrows? 

"John," said Aunt Maggie, who in the 
days long ago had also lost her first born, 
"leave us alone, dear." 

308 The Mormon Point of View. 

But after little Theron had been laid in 
the frosty ground, and they had returned 
home, the house seemed more still and 
dreary than before, every one saw how 
lonesome the little cradle looked. 

It had hardly grown dusk when three 
men moved cautiously along a wild hedge 
near John Trueman's barn. 

"They must have done their chores," 
whispered Gray. "I don't see any of them 

"Hush! there he comes now." 

Slowly and with bowed head, John True- 
man made his way toward the barn. In 
one corner of ' , — corral stood a fine mare, 
which neighed at his approach. Behind 
her was a half-grown colt, which came up 
to him to be petted. 

"Toby, Toby," said the man brokenly, 
putting his arm around the colt's neck, "did 
you know your little master is gone? He 
will never pet you again. Will you miss 
him too, Toby ? O my baby !" and the 
strong man broke down and wept. 

"Let's go," whispered one of the dep- 
uties. "We are not needed in such a place." 

"We can't now," responded Gray, "and 

For Conscience Sake. 


310 The Mormon Point of View. 

besides, I'm not so sure that there won't 
be something doing yet." 

When John Trueman returned to the 
house, the traces of his dark hour alone 
were gone, and he was prepared for the 
consolation and counsel which he felt he 
must give to his family on the eve of his 

What a picture they make there in the 
ruddy firelight, sad and thoughtful, under 
the great trials that hang over them. The 
younger children have been put to bed. Let 
us glance, individually at the members of 
this sacred family council. 

To begin with, there are the wives: 
Aunt Maggie the first, so good and noble, 
beloved as a mother by all the children. 
Her hair is streaked with gray and there 
are lines of care and sorrow on her calm 
brow, but her face still has that sweet ex- 
pression — so full of love and kindness for 
everybody, — that has made her the friend 
to whom they all take their troubles. Aunt 
Mary is sweet-tempered and quiet, a good 
mother and a loving wife. Aunt Helen 
is young and beautiful. She still has many 
of her girlish ways and leans upon the older 
women with a confiding, beautiful simplic- 

For Conscience Sake. 


greatest pleasure in books. She is loving 
and lovable, and her simplicity and sweet- 
ness have made her the pet of the family. 
She has just turned sweet sixteen and 
gives promise of a nature which, when fully 
developed, will be capable of the most in- 
tense emotions. 

Nor are we the only spectators of this 
sacred family reunion. Crouched by a low 
window on the east side of the dining- 
room, the officers, accompanied by Donald 
Lester, have looked in repeatedly and then 
at last been held as by a spell of strange 
fascination, listening to the words of love 
and comfort which are spoken from heart 
to heart. Gray still clings to his view and 
the trio remain to demonstrate whether or 
not he is wrong. 

At last the hour has come to retire. The 
family Bible is taken from the shelf and a 
chapter is read by Emily. Then they all 
kneel down together. Though their trials 
are heavy, it is a grateful prayer that as- 
cends to the Father's throne. 

The words of devotion come to the lis- 
teners outside. With a sympathy, child' 
like in its directness, that servant of God 
renders thanks for past mercies, and for 
the present blessings and privileges. 

Then there is Emily, whose gentle face 
tells of patient resignation to suffering and 
disappointment. She is the 'old maid' sis- 
ter, Aunt Martha's girl, and Aunt Martha 
has been dead for years. The older children 
have a faint remembrance of a lover who 
went away in the days gone by, but that is 
all. They know there is something sad 
about the story and have learned not to 
mention it as it always brings a look of 
pain to Emily's face. 

Next is Harry, good-looking and jolly, 
though considered by some of the neighbors 
a little rough. 

Then there is Frank, staid and trusty, 
his father's right-hand man; and Charley, 
about the same age, energetic, but very 

Next comes Clara, always so womanly 
and quiet. She is to be married in the 
spring to Dick Ashby, die Bishop's son. 

Then there is rollicking, fun-loving 
Mary, whose black eyes are always danc- 
ing with pent-up mischief. She is almost 
seventeen now, but enjoys as much as ever 
a good romp on the hills in the summer, 
or a snow-ball fight in the winter. 

Maud, the prettiest daughter, finds her 

312 The Mormon Point of View. 

They hear him plead with a touching fer- 
vor, for the Father's watchcare over 
his familv during his absence. He asks 
that their needs be supplied and their hearts 

How earnestly he pleads for his grief- 
stricken wife, that she may be comforted 
and strengthened. Here a sob reaches the 
ears of the men outside and even Gray 
seems to be swallowing something hard. 

The father prays for his absent son that 
he may always be guided aright and re- 
turn home in safety. 

Most earnestlv he pleads for his children 
at home; that they may be strong against 

He asks for strength to bear his own 
great trial; for wisdom and fortitude. 

"Come, I can't stand this any longer," 
said Strong rising from his cramped posi- 
tion. "Let's go." 

"It is a d — d low business we're in," said 
Gray as they walked slowly toward the 
village. "I never felt so much like a cur 
in my life." 

For a while Donald Lester was silent. 
Then his thoughts found their own utter- 

For Conscience Sake. 


"By Jove, that girl is an angel — let her 
be what she will — Mormon or Gentile. 
Did you ever see such eyes!" 


Two years have passed since John True- 
man went to prison. There have been many 
changes in the family at home. 

Clara is married and has a little home of 
her own. 

Aunt Helen has become somewhat re- 
conciled to Theron's death and is teaching 
school in O — . She stays with Clara in town, 
but comes home every Friday evening to 
visit with the folks. 

Quick-tempered Charley has left home. 
He couldn't agree with the other boys and 
just before the last 4th of July, he ran 
away. Aunt Maggie has aged very much 
since then, and though she tries hard to 
keep up her spirits, there is something 
touching in her very cheerfulness. 

Harry has surprised everybody. As the 
head of the family, he has accepted his re- 
sponsibility like a man. 

It is the evening before Thanksgiving. 
The people of O. are preparing for a great 
public feast. 

For Conscience Sake. 


"I say, sit down and listen. You must 
act discreetly." 

Well, go on," and the impetuous boy 
tried hard to control himself. 

"As soon as I was over my first shock, 
I hurried in the direction they had gone, 
and saw them go into the grove by the old 
schoolhouse. I couldn't make up my mind 
to go and try to get Maud, nor could I 
leave her there with him, so I just stood and 
listened and, Harry, tomorrow night they 
are going to run away." 

"The black-guard ! I'll shoot him this 
time, sure," and he sprang again to his feet, 
white and trembling with rage. "Where is 
the dogf 

"Harry, Harry, listen to me," pleaded 
his sister. "You have failed once with 
Maud. Perhaps it was your sternness that 
led her to this step. Let me try this time. 
Let us see what love and kindnes can do. 
I felt that I must tell someone, and I knew 
it would almost kill Aunt Maggie, so I 
told you, and you must help me, brother. I 
will talk to her tonight,, and, O Harry, we 
will pray and hope. O, how I wish Papa 
were here !" 

314 The Mormon Point of View. 

Darkness is just falling as Emily.who has 
been to town working on the committee, re- 
turns home. She at once calls Harry out 
onto the front porch and makes room for 
him to sit beside her on the step. She sits so 
long, staring blankly into space that at last 
Harry breaks the silence. 

"Well, Emily, what is it?" 

"Harry," she answers, "I want to talk 
with you about a very particular matter. 
There is something you must help me do. 
You can not do it alone nor can I, but we 
must do it.' 


"Do you know where Maud is?" 

"Why, no. Is anything the matter?" 

"Listen, brother: Tonight just when we 
had finished decorating the hall and I was 
takin? Sister Jones' hammer home, I saw 
Maud turn the corner with a strange man. 
Harry, it was Mr. Lester." 

"What, that d — d scoundrel back again?" 
and Harry sprang to his feet, clenching his 

"Harry," said his sister taking hold of 
the young man's arm, "sit down and listen, 
for we must do something." 

"Do something! Where is the rascal?" 

316 The Mormon Point of View. 

"Hush, there comes Maud. Remember 
not a word now." 

That night when the house was still, 
Emily stole softly to the door of Maud's 
and Mary's room. 

"Maudie," she whispered. 

"What do you want?" was the answer 
with a slight tremor that told the girl had 
not yet been asleep. 

"Come into my room, will you, dearie? 
I want to tell you something." 

When they were seated alone, Emily be- 

"Maudie, I want to tell you a story — the 
story of my own life. I was not always 
the quiet old maid that I am today. Once 
I was young, and some of my friends said, 
pretty. I had a lover then, sister, and I 
loved my Will with all the devotion of my 
young heart. 

"He was handsome and bright and full 
of ambition. We were to be married in 
the fall and were going to California for 
a while, where Will would work for his 

"How happy I was that summer prepar- 
ing for my wedding! I used to sit sewing 

For Conscience Sake. 


318 The Mormon Point of View. 

and singing all day long, with mother and 
Bessie helping me. 

"It seemed that mother could hardly bear 
the thought of my going away. Often when 
I sat building castles for the future, her 
dear eyes would fill with tears and her 
sweet lips tremble. But I was so wrapped 
up in my own love and happiness that I 
forgot all else. 

"It was just three weeks till we were to 
be married, when one day mother fell from 
a chair on which she had tried to reach a 
high self. The fall hurt her back and she 
never walked again. Day after day she 
grew weaker; and when the doctor told us 
she would never get well, it almost broke 
our hearts. 

"And then the day she died, — I shall 
never forget it. It was one of those golden 
Autumn afternoons. The sun shone in 
mellow streams through the curtains on her 
sweet pale face. Father, Bessie and I were 
in her room. She asked papa to raise her 
in his arms while she talked to us. Little 
Bessie and I knelt beside the bed. She put 
a hand on each of our heads and said with 
voice as sweet as an angel's. 

" 'My darling, your mama is going to 

For Conscience Sake. 


that I had never known before, and I re- 
solved to do my duty. 

"Time passed. Aunt Maggie came down 
from G — to live with us. I did not try 
to like her nor her children — my own little 
brothers and sisters. I was too selfish in 
my sorrow. I lived only for Bessie and 
Will ; but then came the most cruel test of 

"About a month after mother's death, 
Will wished to be married. He said he had 
sent word to his uncle and must go. What 
could I do ? I loved him dearly, but I could 
not leave Bessie. She would die without 
me, she was so fragile and tender. 

" 'O Will,' I pleaded, 'let us wait a little 
while. I cannot go now and leave Bessie, 
or else let us marry and settle down here.' 

" 'You do not love me, Emily,' was Will's 
answer ; and then. I hardly know how it 
happened, but we had a bitter quarrel. He 
was young and proud, and within a week 
left home. I have never seen him since. 

"I thought he loved me and would come 

The girl paused to get control of her 
voice. Maud impulsively threw her arms 
around her older sister and wept with her. 

leave you; but do not grieve, for I shall be 
up there with the angels and wait for my 
loved ones to come. You must try to be a 
comfort to papa, and make your lives good 
and happy.' 

"Then she took my face between her two 
white hands and said, 'Little girl, I want 
you always to be happy, but, remember, I 
leave little Bessie to you, and you must take 
mama's place. Do what you know is your 
duty and God will always be with you.' 

"As she put her arms around little crip- 
pled sister, the tears welled into her dying 
eyes, it seemed she could not bear to leave 
this tender little flower behind her. 

" 'O mama, mama, I want to go, too," 
sobbed Bessie. 

"Mama looked at me. T will remember, 
mama,' I said, and with a smile that I 
shall never forget, she leaned her head on 
papa's shoulder, and her spirit left us. 

"This was the first great trial we had 
ever known. Papa sat so pale and still look- 
ing at her sweet, white face. Little Bessie 
clung to me and sobbed the whole long 
night. I felt crushed, and yet there was 
also a new feeling which came with moth- 
er's dying smile, a feeling of responsibility 

320 The Mormon Point of View. 

"But he never came," resumed Emily in 
a tone of resignation. "A few times I heard 
of him in California; then learned that he 
had gone to Europe, and so the only man 
I ever loved went out of my life. 

"Two months after this, little Bessie died, 
and I was indeed a sad, sad girl. I shut 
myself up in my grief and refused to be 
comforted. Father was kind and loving, 
and Aunt Maggie tried to be, but I would 
not let her. 

"Hour after hour I spent in the little 
churchyard, praying to die; for what had 
life in store for me now? 

"One night after I had cried myself to 
sleep, I had a dream of mother. A light 
came into my room. It grew brighter and 
brighter, and when I looked up, mother 
was standing beside me. She was all white 
and beautiful, but she looked down at me 
with such a sweet, sad light in her great 
blue eyes, that I knew she was grieved at 
my sorrow. I wanted to speak, — I wanted 
to go to her arms but could not. She looked 
at me for some time, then turned and was 
going away. 

1 'O mama, mama, take me with you,' 
I sobbed stretching out my arms. She came 

For Conscience Sake. 


322 The Mormon Point of View. 

back to my bedside and bending over me 
whispered the one word 'Duty.' Then she 
kissed me and went away. 

"I understood. There was a duty yet in 
the world for me. Yes, mother, I would 
find it. 

"From that night I have been happy. I 
have found many duties, — hard ones, too, — 
but it seems that our angel mother is always 
near to help me. 

"Sister, it is by doing our duty that we 
learn to live. Every one has some stern 
duty — a test in life and, Maudie, I believe 
yours is standing before you now." 

Tears were streaming down the young 
girl's cheeks. 

"O Emily," she sobbed, "you mean 

"Yes, I mean Mr. Lester, Maud, and I 
want to help you to see your duty," an- 
swered the older sister. 

"Let me tell you all about it, Emily. For 
months my heart has been aching for some- 
one to help bear its secret, but you all mis- 
judged Donald so, that I dared not breathe 
his name. 

"When I first saw Donald, the time he 
helped take papa, I hated him; but the 

next Summer when I met him at Etta's and 
he explained it all to me, how he was acting 
against his will, I learned to respect him; 
and then, O Emily, I can't tell you how it 
came, but before I knew it I loved him 
dearer than my life. He was so handsome 
and cultivated, just like heroes in books, 
and then to think he loved me — a simple 
little country girl. 

"I shall never forget the night he told 
me of his love. We walked home from 
town. It seemed that the brook sang sweet- 
er, the moon shone brighter, and all earth 
was dearer than ever before. We were 
standing under the old apple-tree, and the 
moon stole softly through the leaves, and 
the air was sweet with the scent of the 
blossoms. I remember the very light in his 
large dark eyes as he took me in his arms 
and kissed me and told me that I was 
dearer than the world to him. 

"I think no one was ever so happy as 
I. I could not sleep, but lay looking at 
the great white moon that peeped in at my 
window, saying over and over in my heart, 
'He loves me! he loves me!' 

"You will remember what happened the 
next day; how Harry came in and com- 

For Conscience Sake. 


manded me never to think of that villain 
again; said he would shoot him if he ever 
came back, and called him all the low down 
things he could think of. O, sister, it 
seemed like my life was crushed. I had 
not a friend in the world to soothe my 
bleeding heart. You were all of you bitter, 
bitter cruel! And then when Donald wrote 
and told me how he had been wronged, and 
begged me still to love him, do you wonder 
that my love grew stronger? He was the 
only friend in the world who could under- 
stand me. 

"And now he wants me to go with him, 
to his home. Of course I know it would be 
wrong to do as we have planned. It would 
break mama's heart and poor papa in pris- 
on, what would he do? But I didn't 
think of that. I knew that when you once 
know Donald you will all love him ; and I 
thought we could come back after awhile, 
and it would be all right. Donald has prom- 
ised to study the Gospel, too, and I feel sure 
he will join the Church. 

"But, Emily, you have shown me that I 
have a duty and I will do it. Of course, 
I won't need to give Donald up; none of 
you would have me do that, if you knew 

324 The Mormon Point of View. 

him ; but I will explain it all to him, and 
we will wait till he is better understood." 

"Don't you think I had better explain 
it to him," suggested Emily. "You see he 
might think differently about it, and it 
would be harder for you." 

"O no; I couldn't think of such a thing. 
You need not fear. He loves me so dearly 
and is such a gentleman, I'm sure he will 
see it is for the best when I explain it all 
to him." 

"Very well, dear. Trust in your Heav- 
enly Father, and I will pray for you, too. 
Now you had better go to bed." 

And with Emily's tender kiss upon her 
lips, Maud was soon in dreamland. Ah, 
unsuspecting heart, little do you dream of 
the snare that lies before you ! 


It is Thanksgiving evening. John True- 
man is sitting in his dimly lighted cell try- 
ing to read his Bible. But somehow his 
mind presists in turning homward. He 
wonders what they are all doing tonight. 
He pictures his dear ones, his wives and 
children ; the young people are perhaps 
now preparing for the dance in town. 

He sees the boys bustling around. They 

For Conscience Sake. 


326 The Mormon Point of View. 

must be ready early to go for their partners. 
The group is not complete. There is a 
twinge at his heart strings as he wonders 
where Charley is tonight. 

Then there are the girls: Mary, jolly 
as ever, teasing Sadie who has promised to 
go with Dill Thomson ; Emily, busy as us- 
ual helping the others; now tying a sash 
for Sadie, next adjusting a ribbon for Mary, 
or combing Maud's hair. 

The man's face begins to glow with the 
picture. Yes, there is Maud his prettiest 
daughter. How beautiful she looks tonight,, 
her dark eyes are bright and clear and 
the pink of her cheek is deeper than usual. 

As this detail flashes acros his mind, sud- 
denly the familiar room, in the old home 
fades away and there stands Maud alone. 
Before her, and scarcely a step away, 
yearns a deep, dark chasm. There is a wild, 
uncertain look in her eyes, yet she does not 
seem to see her danger. So vivid is the vis- 
ion that he gives a sudden cry of alarm, 
and the picture vanishes. 

Long he sits there pale and trembling. 
What can it mean? He tries to analyze 
the feeling. He reads his last letters from 
home. There is nothing unusual in them. 

For Conscience Sake. 


Harry, Dick, Mary, and Sadie are decor- 
ating the long dining-room, with ever- 
greens and the mistletoe that grows so 
abundantlv on these southern hills. Alice, 
Fanny, Tom, and Bob are making bright 
chains and popcorn strings for the tree, 
while Aunt Mary, Aunt Maggie, Emily, 
and Clara are busy in the kitchen. 

And what rows and rows of pies, cakes, 
puddings, and cookies are being stored 
away! There are panfuls of horses, ele- 
phants, and soldiers; also some well- 
browned Santa Clauses with great packs 
on their backs, — for what would Christmas 
be without these? 

Maud is still kept in the invalid's chair, 
yet she is helping Aunt Helen with some 
mysterious work in the bedroom. Harry 
has brought two great boxes from town 
and carried them in ; but the door is always 
closed with such precaution, that the chil- 
dren would give almost anything to get 
just a peep inside. 

"Here, Dick, that mistletoe isn't in the 
middle," said Mary. 

"Now, Miss Prim, I'd like to know who's 
doing this? I guess if George catches you 
under it, it won't make much difference 

Perhaps it is nothing but fancy after all; 
and so thinking he goes to bed. 

But he has been asleep only a little while 
when suddenly he starts up. There before 
him in the dark cell is that terrible picture 
again — MauH alone, by that awful pit. 

A dreadful foreboding now comes over 
him. He springs from his bed, and kneel- 
ing on the cold stones, pours out his soul 
to God for the protection of his loved one. 

Still that heavy dread. He prays again 
for an assurance of his darling's welfare, 
and as thus he kneels, he feels his spirit 
leave his body, which falls senseless on the 
hard floor. 


How busy they all are on the little farm. 
It is the day before Christmas and Father 
and James will be home tonight. What a 
jolly time they will have ! Harry and Nellie 
have decided to be married on Christmas 
day, so there are more preparations to be 
■made than usual. 

On Christmas-Eve, however, they will 
have a good old family party. Frank and 
Ned have brought home the Christmas-tree 
and are fixing it up in the parlor. 

328 The Mormon Point of View. 

whether it's straight or not. It will serve 
the same purpose won't it, sis?" answered 
her brother-in-law, pinching her cheek 

"Now, Dick, behave yourself. I don't 
see how Clara ever stands such a torment." 

'I wonder what surprise James has for 
us? I can't imagine what it can be," said 
Harry. "If it wasn't for Grace, I'd think 
he was bringing a wife home." 

"Perhaps he hasn't heard of Nellie, and is 
bringing one for his brother," suggested 
Mary with a shy wink. 

"Do you think papa will know where to 
come?" asked Tom. "I bet he'll git lost on 
that new road you fellers made up by the 
four acres. Hadn't me an' Bob better go 
up an' wait for 'em, so we can show 'em 
which way to come?" 

"I's a doin' to show papa the ittle 'ams," 
declared baby Rose. 

"No you're not! They're mine and I've 
got a right to show 'em," said Bob. 

"I'll show 'im the tittens, anyhow," per- 
sisted the little miss nodding her curls. 

"Isn't it about time they were coming?" 
Aunt Helen went to the window for the 

For Conscience Sake. 


fortieth time. "It's almost four o'clock, 
and it's beginning to snow again." 

"Oh, here's George and Nellie and 
Grace." Sleigh bells were heard coming up 
the road, and Mary hurried away to receive 
the guests. 

The afternoon passed and evening came, 
but still papa and the missionary had not 
arrived. The fire was roaring and crack- 
ling up the great chimney. The children 
were popping corn, while Emily told them 
the old sweet story of the babe in the man- 

Maud, pale and pinched from her long 
sickness, sat in the warm firelight, her head 
leaning back on the cushions. Her eyes 
were closed, yet there was a firmness 
around her delicate mouth, that told of a 
lesson in self-denial well learned; an ex- 
pression possessed only by those who have 
been strengthened and fortified by victory 
in a great conflict with self. 

Grace sat with folded hands gazing 
thoughtfully into the fire, dreaming no 
doubt of the lover she was soon to meet. 

Mary and George were together in the 
bay-window while Harry and Nellie sat 

For Conscience Sake. 


den sorrow, for their older sister. Indeed,, 
no surprise could have been more grateful 
to this bevy of boys and girls just in the 
age of romance. Maud cried outright in 
the fulness of her joy. 

"Yes, my boy, take her," said John True- 
man, crossing over to where the reunited 
lovers stood. "All these years she has wait- 
ed for you." 

"It has all been a cruel mistake," said 
Will Burton looking fondly into Emily's- 
glowing face. "I heard you were married 
to Jack Kelsey, — you know you used to go 
out with him — and didn't learn that it was 
your cousin Eve, until I met James at the 
mission headquarters in London." 

A little later when the first excitement 
had somewhat died away, and they were 
all seated around the fire, Brother True- 
man laid his hand affectionately on Maud's 
head. She looked up with such a beautiful 
light in her eyes and said, 

"O Papa, it was you who saved me. I 
wanted to do right, after Emily had shown 
me my duty, but, Papa, I was just yielding, 
I was just going to tell him I would go,, 
when I felt a strong arm draw me back,, 
and looking up I saw you standing by me. 

330 The Mormon Point of View. 

on the sofa in the chimney corner, planning 
for the future. 

The wives, with Clara, Dick, and Frank, 
were in the parlor finishing the tree. 

Why didn't they come? It was almost 
eight o'clock and still snowing. Could 
anything have happened? Each tried to 
suppress his excitement, but that was get- 
ting to be impossible. 

Hark! Old Tige gives a sharp bark and 
bounds from the porch. There is a sound 
of wheels. They stop. There are heavy 
stamps upon the step. A dozen hands rush 
to open the door and in one instant, father 
and son are surrounded by loved ones. 

When the first excitement had passed, 
James put his arms around Emily and drew 
her towards a tall stranger who stood un- 
observed in the doorway. 

"Here is my surprise," said he,and twenty 
eager glances were turned in that direction. 

For one moment Emily stared at the 
visitor and then with a look of joy cried, 
"Will!" and was clasped in the stranger's 

"Oh, I'm so glad," said Mary throw- 
ing her arms around Grace. For years their 
heart had ached in sympathy with the hid- 

332 The Mormon Point of View. 

"I wasn't afraid, but felt so good and 
strong. Then I told him, Papa, that I would 
not go, and the look he gave me revealed 
his character. With an awful oath, he 
turned and left me, and I fell fainting to 
the ground, where I lay till Emily came and 
found me there." 

"Sister," said Emily, "you didn't know 
how Harry and I stood near, watching, and 
praying for you, nor how hard it was for 
Harry to restrain his impulse to seize the 
villain by the throat, nor how at last he con- 
quered himself and followed Lester to town 
and made him start for the depot that 
night, with the warning never to show his 
face in this country again." 

Then the father told of that night when 
his spirit left his bodv ; and while he could 
not remember anything that happened, yet 
when he came to himself, he was filled with 
a strange feeling of peace and joy. 

How shall I describe the mirth and hi- 
larity which rang out along the happy lines 
of that long table — the welcoming home 
of the father and son, husband and brother; 
the merry jokes hinging on associations 
past, present and to come, — allusions that 

For Conscience Sake. 


334 The Mormon Point of View. 

brought the warm flood of life to the cheek, 
the sparkle of joy to the eye! 

There was only one face in that joyous 
group which needed to feign a look of glad- 
ness. Nobly did Aunt Maggie sustain her 
difficult part. And when she withdrew 
it was under cover of serving the rest. 

But John Trueman saw her go and knew 
the reason. As soon as he could do so he 
joined her in the parlor. There they stood 
lovers as of old, ready to share once more 
each other's sorrows, even on this long 
looked for night of joy. 

''Don't grieve too much, Margaret. Let us 
believe that the Lord is watching over him 
and will bring him back to us." 

"I can't help it, John. He was our 
youngest — and — and — 1 know the Lord is 
good, but — O John, it's so good to have 
you home — " 

And the dear patient woman claimed once 
more the old joy of weeping away her grief 
on her husband's breast. 

Before retiring that night the reunited 
family sang that dear old hymn 

"God moves in a mysterious way 
His wonders to perform." 
And once more around the family altar they 

poured out their thanks to God, for his 
blessings ; nor did they forget to ask him to 
protect the absent wanderer and guide him 
safely home again. 

What a sweet, holy influence filled that 
home; the joy of Christmas tide was in 
every heart. 

As John Trueman stooped to kiss Maud 
good-night, she put her arms around his 
neck and whispered, "Papa, I, too, have 
found the joy of suffering for conscience 
sake." Eglantine. 



"How many children have you ?" asked 
a member of the Congressional committee. 

"Forty-two," was the reply; "Twenty- 
one boys and twenty-one girls, and I am 
proud of every one of them." 

No doubt the answer surprised and 
amazed the grave and reverend seniors of 
the senate, who silently drew comparisons 
between such a family and their own empty, 
or comparatively empty, mansions ; it cer- 
tainly served to set the whole country agog 
with astonishment and curiosity. 

No incident, however, in the life of Pres- 
ident Smith, — full of courageous precept 
and example though that life has been, — 
appeals more subtly to the pride of man- 
hood and womanhood among Latter-day 
Saints nor re-enforces more strongly their 
sense of devotion to the most sacred duty 
man can owe to God and the human race. 

336 The Mormon Point of View. 

President Smith's is one type of the Mor- 
mon family — a type from which have come 
some of the purest, noblest, and most force- 
ful of the men and women now at the head 
of affairs throughout Mormondom. But it 
is not necessarily the type. However, be- 
fore generalizing the characteristics which 
constitute the essentials of the Mormon 
family, it may be well to consider briefly 
some of the notable examples. 

In an interview published April 25, 1903, 
in the Salt Lake Telegram, the following 
facts and statistics were brought out re- 
specting the family of Hon. Lorin Farr of 
Ogden, Utah. Mr. Farr was born in Ver- 
mont in 1820, and married his first wife, 
Nancy Chase, in 1845 I ne married five other 
wives, as follows: Sarah Giles, 185 1 ; Olive 
A. Jones, 1852; Mary B. Freeman, 1854; 
Nickaline Erickson, 1857; Clara J. Bates, 
1901. The last named was 81 years of age 
when he married her, and died without issue 
the following year. She should not be 
counted in the family for statistical pur- 
poses, as she was probably merely sealed to 
him in view of the life hereafter. 

By his first wife President Farr had 
twelve children, forty-six grandchildren 

The Mormon Family. 


and twenty-one great-grandchildren, or a 
total of seventy-nine ; by his second wife he 
had nine children, and fifty-one grand chil- 
dren, or a total of sixty; by his third wife 
he had seven children, and from three of 
these, fifteen grandchildren, or a total of 
twenty-two, three of the children having 
died without issue; by his fourth wife he 
had six children, and from four of these, 
twenty-four grandchildren, or a total of 
thirty, the issue of two children not being 
known ; by his fifth wife he had six children 
and twenty-eight grand children, or a total 
of thirty-four, one son being unmarried at 
the date of this interview. 

Summing up these numbers it will be 
seen that Lorin Farr, at the age of eighty- 
three, had forty children — twenty sons and 
twenty daughters and one hundred and 
sixty-four grand children; as to great- 
grandchildren, only the statistics of two or 
three families were at hand, but the number 
was estimated at fifty-six, making a total of 
two hundred and fifty-eight descendants 
during a little more than half a century. 
Adding to this number the two hundred and 
twenty-seven descendants of Aaron and 
Winslow Farr, brothers of Lorin, it will be 

The Mormon Family. 


ly afterward without issue. The combined 
descendants of the other three equal just 
eighteen. That is to say three members of 
the family, acting upon a worldly ideal, had 
an average of six descendants each in two 
generations ; the other, inspired by the Mor- 
mon ideal, had forty-eight descendants. In 
other words, she was eight times as fruit- 
ful as they. What is still more significant, 
is the fact that, while not wealthy, all her 
descendants own their own homes, and are 
well to do and thrifty, while the descend- 
ants of the non-Mormon branches of the 
family are perpetually in straightened cir- 

The Cluff family presents another re- 
markable example of fruitfulness. David 
Cluff of New Hampshire and his wife, Bet- 
sy Hall of Canada, reached Utah valley in 
1850, with ten sons and one daughter. The 
latter was the only one of the children mar- 
ried and she had two children. Fifty years 
later, that is, in 1900, a census was taken 
and the number of descendants found to be 
over six hundred. Most of the families 
have been monogamous, there having been 
only eight cases of plural marriage. 

The original family, of whom David Cluff 

338 The Mormon Point of View. 

seen in what a practical way, these three 
sturdy pioneers made the desert blossom 
as the rose. 

Another family illustrating the Mormon 
ideal of family life is that of Nahum Cur- 
tis, a descendant of the Mayflower colony, 
who joined the church in 1833. He had 
six sons and one daughter, three of whom 
married after reaching Utah in 1850. Two 
of the sons, George and Moses, and two of 
the grandsons, lived in polygamy, each hav- 
ing two wives. These are the only cases 
of plural marriage in the family; and yet 
when a census was taken one year ago, it 
was found that there were 466 direct de- 
scendants of Nahum Curtis still living. 

An illustration of the effect of ideal upon 
fruitfulness, occurs in connection with the 
family of Emma Whaley who became the 
first wife of George Curtis in 1850. She 
bore her husband seven children, and these 
have already increased to forty-one grand 
children and great grand children, making 
her descendants forty-eight. She had two 
brothers and two sisters who also emigrat- 
ed from England to America, attracted by 
the desire to better their financial conditions. 
One sister joined the church but died short- 

340 The Mormon Point of View. 

was a member, consisted of four girls and 
five boys besides himself; yet the combined 
descendants of all the other children, none 
of whom accepted the Gospel, did not equal 
ten per cent of David's descendants in 1900. 

The monogamous families of the Church 
will average in number of children just 
about like the respective families of Presi- 
dent Lorin Farr, above quoted ; viz., twelve, 
nine, seven, and six. To be conservative, 
however, let us put the number at from five 
to twelve for each mother. The families 
with fewer than five children will be found 
almost as rare as the families with over 

I am speaking now of true Latter-day 
Saints, those who conscientiously and fear- 
lessly accept God's command, "Multiply and 
replenish the earth." We have among us, 
however, for the time being, families who 
are wavering between the Mormon ideal 
and that of Babylon, and others, — further 
along in the process of sloughing, — who 
have quite gone over to the followers of the 
Malthusian ideal. But even allowing for 
these, Mormonism presents a creditable 
showing as compared with the rest of civ- 
ilized mankind. 

The Mormon Family. 


Taking the United States as a sample of 
the enlightened world — it really stands best 
in the column of western nations so far as 
'race suicide' is concerned — and the average 
family is equal to five and one-half souls. 
As against this, consider the status of the 
average Mormon family, which is equal to, 
seven souls. The comparison means simply 
that in the world it takes two sets of parents 
10 produce five children, while in Mormon- 
dom this nummer is produced by one set. 
The average Mormon parent is thus seen to 
be twice as prolific as the average Gentile 

What this shall signify in a wider social 
sense, and during future ages, will be dis- 
cussed later. Here let us abstract and gen- 
eralize the essential facts respecting the 
Mormon family. At first sight the central 
fact would seem to be the begetting of chil- 
dren ; as if salvation were somehow depend- 
ent upon the number brought into the 
world. Such a conclusion, however, would 
be both true and untrue, according to the 
point of view taken. 

Paul in characterizing the Roman nation 
as ripe for destruction, mentions among 
many other sins that 'even their women did 

The Mormon Family. 


of lust which has descended upon him, as 
upon the rest of mankind, from a thousand 
unbridled ancestors. Increase in the num- 
ber of children is the natural consequence 
of such a course. For to the extent that he 
and his wife succeeded in marital continen- 
cy, to that extent is motherhood relieved of 
obstacles to the fulfilling of God's com- 
mand. If, therefore, Mormon women have 
more children than non-Mormon, what is it 
but indisputable proof that both they and 
their husbands are more truly respecting 
and honoring the 'natural use' of marital in- 
tercourse?. What this fact means in its re- 
action upon character will be seen in a later 

From another stand-point, however, it is 
most true that Latter-day Saints welcome 
children to the home ; and feel that the more 
God sends to them the more are they 
blessed. It is easy for the Mormon woman 
to understand, from her religious point of 
view, why the mother in Israel should have 
felt so keenly the sense of reproach which 
accompanied barrenness, and the sense of 
joy and rejoicing which came to her when 
God made her fruitful. But this aspect I 
also reserve to treat elsewhere. 

34a The Mormon Point of View. 

change the natural use for that which is 
against nature.' It may be asked, what is 
the 'natural use' of the procreative relation- 
ship between man and woman? There can 
be but one answer — procreation. Any oth- 
er use, at least to the extent that it inter- 
feres with this natural function, is changing 
the 'natural use of the woman for that which 
is against nature.' 

Mormonism recognizes the first divine 
command given to Adam and Eve, "Be 
fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the 
earth, and subdue it," as being still the fore- 
most social law to mankind. Part of its 
fulfillment is the begetting of children. 
Motherhood is consequently looked upon as 
the right and duty of every well-born wo- 
man, and fatherhood of every man worthy 
a standing in the Church. Measured 
against this holy purpose of marriage the 
gratification of lust is debasing and sinful, 
and marks a very low order of manhood 
and womanhood. 

It is not, therefore, that the Latter-day 
Saint makes everything else bend to the be- 
getting of children ; he rather makes every- 
thing bend toward social chastity, toward 
the curbing and subduing of that heritage 

344. The Mormon Point of View. 

The Mormon family may be defined, 
therefore, as the natural, untrammeled fam- 
ily,— rthe family which results when the 
fountains of life are not diverted to satiate 
unholy desires. But bringing children into 
the world is only half of the divine com- 
mand. Observe that God said not only, "Be 
fruitful and multiply," but also "Replenish 
the earth and subdue it." This latter part 
is fulfilled only when every child brought 
into the world is fitted to do its share of the 
world's work; fitted to replenish its indus- 
trial army, and help subdue its deserts and 

Accordingly, among Latter-day Saints a 
spirit of industry is enjoined upon all. 
"There shall be no drones among you," said 
the Lord in a revelation to Joseph Smith. 
Again: "Six days shalt thou labor," said 
Jehovah amid the thunders of Mt. Sinai; 
and this first half of the divine command is 
held to be just as sacred and binding as the 
second half. The thrift of the Mormon peo- 
ple is consequently proverbial. Perhaps 
ninety per cent of all its families own their 
own homes. For instance, the combined 
wealth of the 466 descendants of Nahum 
Curtis above referred to, is estimated con- 

The Mormon Family. 


servative at one million dollars, and is 
pretty evenly distributed among - them all. 
How thrift and industry are related to mor- 
al character, I shall refer to again. 

It is not polygamy, then, that is the es- 
sential fact of the Mormon family as a so- 
cial factor; for, as above pointed out, this 
ideal consists in the natural, the untram- 
meled birth of children, and their careful 
bringing up for social service. Indeed, 
polygamy unaccompanied by these charac- 
teristic phases, would have no excuse for 
existence that a Latter-day Saint could pos- 
sibly countenance. And this thought leads 
me to point out directly what was, — and is, 
for that matter, — the need of plural mar- 
riage as an adjunct in the social evolution of 
Mormon family life. 

Grant that every woman fitted physically 
and otherwise for the divine mission of 
motherhood, has a right to bear children, — 
a right God-given and inalienable; and 
grant further, — what must ever be the case 
with the true Latter-day Saint, — that she 
conceives the begetting of children to be a 
solemn duty, the consequences of which will 
reach into eternity; how shall she exercise 

The Mormon Family. 


ness which God intended ; or like Whittier's 
sister, whom the poet describes as 

"The sweetest woman ever fate 
Preverse denied a household mate." 

They may teach school ; paint flowers ; 
make themselves cozy dens, sorrounded 
with animal and vegetable pets; travel, lec- 
ture, write books; perhaps grow old and 
wizened as family servants, but even under 
favorable conditions, is it not most pathetic 
to see the juice of maternity drying up in 
them, till they become all but sexless, often 
misanthropic and cynical, rarely sweet and 
mellowed by age, like the adorable grand- 
mothers who were school-mates with them ?* 

•"There i3 not one woman In a million who> 
would not be married if she could have a chance. 
How do I know? Just as I know the stars are 
now shining in the sky, though it is high noon. 
I never saw a star at noon day; but I know it 
is the nature of stars to shine in the sky. Geni- 
us or fool, rich or poor, beauty or the beast, if 
marriage were what it should be, what God 
meant it to be, what even with the world's pres- 
ent possibilities it might be, it would be the 
Elysium, the sole, complete Elysium of woman, 
yes, and of man. Greatness, glory, usefulness, 
await her otherwheres; but here alone all her 
powers, all her being, can find full play. No 
condition, no character even, can quite hide the 
gleam of sacred fire; but on the household 

346 The Mormon Point of View. 

that right under laws that "forbid to 
marry ?" 

The argument that the sexes are born 
about equal in number has but a shallow, 
surface significance. Many men are dis- 
abled, or unwilling to marry; and it is a 
notorious fact, at least among us, and I 
think also among mankind at large, that the 
percentage disqualified for family life by 
thriftlessness and vicious habits, is always 
greater among men than among women. At 
any rate, noble women pause at the thought 
of taking such men to be the fathers of 
their children. 

From such a variety of causes (coupled 
perhaps in many cases with the congenital 
fact of plain-favored face or form), many 
pure, high-minded young women are left 
old-maids in nearly every town throughout 
Zion; young women who are the peers of 
the very best among their married sisters, 
and whose issue could not fail to improve 
the human race. 

What shall these good women do? In 
Mormondom, from force of religious train- 
ing, they are all of the Evangeline type, 
maidens who look forward to a loved union 
which shall round out their lives to the full- 

348 The Mormon Point of View. 

Mormonism provided a way whereby all 
true women within its fold might escape 
such a fate. The number that entered 
3>olygamy was always relatively small- 
could not be otherwise, from the simple 
lact that you cannot marry more women 
than there are. Talk about plural 
marriage menacing the so-called Amer- 
ican home! Get down to figures, 
will you, and determine how many 
women would by any possibility be avail- 
able for plural wives. Only those left over 
because their birth mates were unwilling or 
unworthy to marry them. 

Mormon plural marriage was never a 
menace to monogamy. It was merely a 
safety-valve for the pressure of internal 
social evils. It took up the old maids which 
are now accumulating in our wards and 
stakes; it arrested that contingent which 

hearth it Joins the warmth of earth to the hues 
of heaven. Brilliant, dazzling, vivid, a beacon 
and a blessing her light may be; but only a 
happy home blends the prismatic rays into a 
soft, serene whiteness, that floods the world 
with divine illumination. Without wifely or 
motherly love, a part of her nature must re- 
main enclosed, a spring shut up, a fountain 
sealed." — Gall Hamilton. 

The Mormon Family. 


350 The Mormon Point of View. 

now directly, or through marital failures, 
finds its way to gilded palaces of sin ; and 
it permitted such a choice of sires as pre- 
vented the thriftless and vicious from per- 
petuating their undesirable progeny. 

Then came our mis-guided brothers and 
sisters of Babylon, with the Malthusian 
ideal of family life, to break down our bar- 
riers and turn loose among us the sexual 
evils which now curse the world. They suc- 
ceeded ; but in my humble opinion at a tre- 
mendous cost to the social evolution of the 
race. Had their prejudices permitted them 
to be sane, they might at least have stood by 
for a generation or two and observed this 
experiment in family life, which Mormons 
believe to have had essentially in it the so- 
cial healing of the nations. 

It is now too late, however; the institu- 
tion as once upheld and enjoined by the 
Church is gone. If examples of it occur in 
the future, — and on this point let it be borne 
in mind that social institutions are neither 
made nor unmade in a day — they will be the 
sporadic outcroppings of individual initia- 
tive, and maintained in secrecy, under the 
obloquy alike of Church and Social circle. 
I state this most confidently on the basis 

that the practice now contravenes a funda- 
mental tenet of Mormonism: viz, "We be- 
lieve in being subject to kings, presidents, 
rulers, and magistrates, and in obeying, 
honoring and sustaining the law." Our 
struggle to maintain the institution came to 
an abrupt end as soon as the enactment of 
Congress against it was pronounced law; 
that is to say, the Manifesto discontinuing 
plural marriage was promulgated immedi- 
ately upon the final interpretation of the 
law by the Supreme court. As to relations 
formed before the Manifesto, a higher law 
than any possible legal enactment on earth 
— the law of Anglo-Saxon manhood — will 
take care of them, let the consequences be 
what they may. 

But let no one believe, because plural 
marriage has been discontinued, that the 
Mormon family ideal has been obliterated. 
With the exception of a certain quota of 
women left childless because they can find 
no mates, and another quota among whom 
are the victims set apart for the altar of 
lust, — human waste product — which en- 
forced monogamy always entails upon any 
race or people, and which Charlotte Stetson 
Gilman estimates to have constituted, un- 

The Mormon Family. 


til now, about one-third of the marriage- 
able women of the race, — with these excep- 
tions, vastly minimized however among 
Latter-day Saints, the Mormon family will 
go on to its necessarily revolutionary con- 



But before taking up these consequences, 
let us see whether the prediction that the 
Mormon family will go on,js well founded; 
in other words, let us investigate the basis 
of this new unit of social life, and see how 
deep and firm it is. 

It is a noteworthy fact, in every civilized 
country, that the large families are invari- 
ably associated with the industrial classes; 
that is to say, with men and women who 
are naked to nature, as it were, because 
stripped by stern necessity of those conven- 
tional shams and artificialities which wealth 
brings. The usual explanation of their fer- 
tility is that they are ignorant of the de- 
vices for preventing offspring. 

That the poor and humble are thus inno- 
cent of the sexual vices of the rich, may in- 

352 The Mormon Point of View. 

deed be true ; but it is a most significant fact 
that they show little inclination, while so 
living next to nature, to acquire them. And 
the reason is self-evident : the life they lead 
preserves sweet and wholesome the natural 
race instincts. Fancy a working woman 
cuddling to her breast a beribboned poodle, 
or being ashamed of any phase whatever of 
maternity ! 

The real growth of the Mormon ideal in 
family life began with their exodus, when, 
driven from their homes in the central 
states, they were forced to live in tents and 
covered wagons during the long and pain- 
ful journey across the plains; and after- 
wards when remote from the arts and 
trades of civilization, each settler was com- 
pelled, without intermediary agency, to get 
food and clothing and shelter directly from 
the soil. Here in the heart of the Amer- 
ican desert, during nearly a quarter of a 
century, the Mormons received such a bap- 
tism in the wholesome environment of 
natural life, that the God-implanted in- 
stincts, blighted or sicklied over for gener- 
ations by the conventions of society, grew 
strong and sweet again. And which in- 
stinct, let me ask, should, under normal 

The Mormon Family. 


354 The Mormon Point of View. 

conditions, be more virile than love of off- 
spring ? 

The deepest source of the Mormon fam- 
ily ideal is therefore that which they had in 
common with all natural peoples. Thank 
God then for the hardships which released 
our mothers from the bondage of fashion; 
which took them out of the "boudoir" with 
its pastes and cosmetics, into garden, field, 
and orchard for nature's own pinks and 
browns; and which, instead of the "teas" 
and "at homes," the "high-fives" and 
"euchre" parties, with their vanities and 
meddlesome insipidities, made it neces- 
sary for them to keep time with the clock 
far into the night, carding or spinning, 
knotting or weaving, darning or sewing, 
for rosy-cheeked darlings, lying perhaps 
on straw mats here and there about the 
one living room, their clothes beside them 
like so many heaps of rags. What a sight 
was this to warm and fertilize the mater- 
nal heart! Pray God that even such hard- 
ships may come again, should we forget 
the lesson in character which they impart- 

I repeat, the most basic source of the 
Mormon family lies in the wholesomeness 

The Mormon Family. 


spiritual evolution. Not so with appeals 
made to Latter-day Saints; for these find 
response in the deepest emotions of the hu- 
man heart; duty to God and hope of salva- 
tion and exaltation in the life to come. 

The source of this religious belief lies 
primarily in the command given to our first 
parents to be fruitful and multiply, a com- 
mand held to be just as sacred in our day 
as any in the decalogue; and the whole 
tenor of scripture is such as to emphasize 
the blessedness of obeying it. 

"Children," says the Psalmist, "are an 
heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the 
womb is his reward. As arrows are in the 
hands of a mighty man: so are children of 
the youth. Happy is the man that hath his 
quiver full of them: they shall not be 
ashamed but shall speak with the enemies 
in the gate." Again: "Thy wife shall be 
as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine 
house: thy children like olive plants round 
about thy table. Thus shall the man be 
blessed that feareth the Lord."* 

Where faith is strong, that is to say, 
where men and women have an abiding, 
ever-present testimony that God lives, a 
divine command is the end of all contro- 

of affection which Mormons have in com- 
mon with all children living close to nature. 
But this source is ever in danger of drying 
up to the extent that wealth shall take away 
work; for no woman can love children un- 
less she has to do for them. The society 
dame may weep over a little half worn shoe 
which her be jeweled fingers have never 
put on nor ever taken off; but we instinct- 
ively feel that she is acting, and inwardly 
have only contempt for her crocodile tears. 
The divine law that love is ever conditioned 
upon service holds here as well as in other 
matters of religion. Considering then that 
the day of poverty for most Latter-day 
Saints has disappeared, or is fast disappear- 
ing, we may well ask will the Mormon fam- 
ily gradually go with it ? 

Were the unreasoning instincts its only 
support, it might, indeed, it must, if the 
lessons of history are to be trusted. But 
Latter-day Saints have other supports. The 
Presidents of Cornell and of Harvard 
might appeal in vain to their respective 
graduating classes not to avoid the respon- 
sibilities of family life ; for at best the basis 
of their appeal must be racial altruism, a 
very uncertain quality at this stage of man's 

356 The Mormon Point of View. 

versy. God has said it, and the spirit bears 
testimony that it is right. The doing of it, 
therefore, even though its ultimate bearings 
are not fully understood, brings that peace 
and joy which soon come to be recognized 
by the spiritual-minded as the benedictions 
of heaven. It was such ardent faith, such 
simple, unquestioning trust in what was 
right and blessed, that facilitated the rear- 
ing of "Bible families" in the days of an- 
cient Israel. The same faith and trust 
would suffice to reinforce the natural desire 
for children among the "gathered Israel" 
of today. 

But this faith and trust no longer rests 
on the mere ipse dixit of a divine command. 
Latter-day Saints now realize that giving 
birth to a child is no mere trifling with the 
physical forces of procreation, but the most 
tremendous event that can take place in the 
whole range of their creative free agency; 
viz., the furnishing of a mortal tabernacle 
for a being eternal as God himself and 
therefore inherently capable of becoming 
perfect as his Father in heaven is perfect. 
To refuse maternity is therefore to refuse 
hospitality to a child of God warm with the 
blessings of heaven upon its head as it is 

The Mormon Family. 


;158 The Mormon Point of View. 

sent earthward to begin its second estate; 
to hinder its entrance upon mortality is 
nothing less than seeking to block the way 
in the psychic evolution of a soul. It 
means that a man and a woman, after be- 
ing themselves generously piloted into the 
dark valley, through which all souls must 
pass in order to be saved, would now tun* 
round and close the gate upon their com- 
panions of the pre-existent world. Could 
ingratitude be more basely selfish than 

And therein lies the damnation of it; for 
selfishness, be it remembered, no matter 
how euphonious the names it may pass by 
on earth — is the one quality in nearly every 
sin that stands always in the way of eternal 
life. Approach to salvation is ever in the 
ratio of self-abnegation. What is salvation 
itself but the complete triumph of altruism ? 
It is on this basis, then, the basis of self- 
sacrcifice to the end that the purposes of 
God may be fulfilled, that the bearing and 
rearing of many noble, God-fearing chil- 
dren, is a means of salvation and exultation. 

The argument is sometimes advanced 
that a man's glory and dominion in the 
hereafter will be in the ratio of the num- 

The Mormon Family. 


men will attain to honor and dominion in 
the kingdom of heaven? Not manifestly 
on the basis of the number of wives and 
children they may have, but on the basis 
of absolute character and fitness to rule. 
But what will constitute that character and 
fitness? What life on earth will have de- 
veloped the qualities necessary to dominion 
in that heavenly society? Will it be the 
life that refused to obey God's first com- 

The mere physical act of cohabitation is 
a mark of selfishness rather than of un- 
selfishness; but whether the motive be sel- 
fish or unselfish is to be judged by the issue. 
If it results in a home barren of children, to 
the end that it may be full of luxuries, then 
in God's sight the human pair guilty of it 
must be monsters of selfishness, however 
they may be rated by society on earth fot 
intelligence and culture. Think you His 
rulers will be chosen from such as these? 

On the other hand, if the act result in 
"children like a flock," and those children, 
moreover, are reared to do God's work in 
the earth, what can be greater evidence of 
unselfish character? There have doubtless 
been Mormons whose crass notions of ex- 

ber of spirits born under his lineage. 
Stated thus baldly the doctrine has always 
seemed to me selfishly pharisaical: as if 
one should say, "I am holier than thou, be- 
cause I have done thus and so more than 
thou." And the impression made upon the 
minds of intelligent investigators cannot 
fail to be the utterly repulsive one that de- 
grees of glory in the 'Mormon' heaven are 
■won on the basis of fine breeding qualities 
on earth. And with such a notion, is it any 
wonder that they say our religion is "egre- 
giously materialistic ?" 

Let us therefore look more narrowly into 
this argument. If heaven is to be a com- 
monwealth characterized by perfect social 
harmony, — and what else could be heaven? 
— then it is conceivable only along the lines 
of a perfect organization of society on the 
basis of absolute truth. Such an organ- 
ization would involve both rulers and ruled, 
In all degrees of co-ordination and sub- 
ordination ; in other words, it would involve 
the "dominions, principalities, and pow- 
ers," spoken of by Paul, and the "priests 
and kings unto the Most High," referred to 
by John the Revelator. 

Now, on what score is it conceivable that 

360 The Mormon Point of View. 

altation have led them to bring children in- 
to the world with all the irresponsibility of 
rabbits ; but such families, while perhaps in 
the Church are never of it. Nor are they in 
it for more than one generation : their prog- 
eny have no more cohesion for the life of 
sacrifice demanded by Mormonism than so 
much thistledown. They will be found 
anywhere but in the kingdom of God. 

The Mormon doctrine of eternal domin- 
ion as related to posterity, implies that such 
posterity shall, through the training of par- 
ents, be saved in the kingdom of heaven. 
Think what a life of unselfish love and de- 
votion, what a ceaseless vigilance for truth 
and right, a Mormon family saved implies 
in the father and mother of that family 

To be the father of forty-two children 
twenty-one sons and twenty-one daughters, 
by five different mothers, is nothing note- 
worthy from the mere physical point of 
view; but to rear such a family with the 
love and harmony that prevails in President 
Smith's homes, implies a character for so- 
cial control on the part of the parents, 
which to say the least, is very extraordin- 
ary. Now, suppose the time had come for 
God to choose from the sons of earth a min 

The Mormon Family. 


fitted by well-tried judgment to settle the 
difficulties in an ideal society, on the lines 
of love, patience, long-suffering, justice, 
impartiality, what monogamist living the 
selfish ideals of the world, could stand the 
test with the polygamist who brings up five 
families of noble sons and daughters to 
bless his name? 

The doctrine that glory and dominion in 
the hereafter are related to the number of a 
man's posterity will probably hold there- 
fore ; but its advocates should be careful to 
qualify it by the condition that the rearing 
of such a posterity shall have resulted in a 
God-like character; and not forget to add 
that failure in this regard leads rather to 
hell than to heaven, and with a descent ac- 
celerated by how many spirits he has 
brought into the world to damn his name. 

Bringing forward my theme again, I 
may remark that the perpetuity of the Mor- 
mon family and its ability to resist th» Mal- 
thusian ideal, is assured not only or. the 
basis of instinct, reinforced by the sanction 
of religion, but also by the Mormon con- 
ception of patriotism and duty to country. 
Listen ' to the ringing words of President 

The Mormon Family. 


his country, and himself should bring into- 
the world, care for, and educate, the largest 
family he is able to." 

It will be seen that President Fair makes 
the duty of rearing a large family three- 
fold: A duty to God, to country, ->nd to 
self. These divisions, however, are really 
only different aspects of the supreme duty 
of man to work out his own salvation. 
God's purpose in creating this planet was 
to furnish a new environment, a "second 
estate," for the education of his son-, and" 
daughters. The carrying out of this pur- 
pose is conditioned upon man's fulfilling 
the first great command. God's next pur- 
pose is so to conserve and evolve the good 
among mankind that out of the confusion 
of Babylon, shall gradually come the order 
of the Millennium, and that, too, on this 
earth. Man helps to accomplish this pur- 
pose when he brings into the world a 'mul- 
titude of good citizens ; for what is good 
citizenship but promoting justice, the vir- 
tue which shall make the Millennium pos- 
sible? God's final purpose is to save man- 
kind. This is possible only by surrounding 
them with an ever progressive environ- 

362 The Mormon Point of View. 

Lorin Farr, the patriarch referred to in the 
opening chapter : 

"The best citizen, the greatest patriot, is 
the man who loves the institutions of his 
country and obeys its laws, and who at the 
same time brings into the world and edu- 
cates the greatest number of men and wo- 
men to follow his example. 

"The people who refuse to become par- 
ents are never satisfied. They are seeking 
a pleasure they cannot find, because they 
are shirking their most sacred duty. The 
man or woman who is afraid or unwilling 
to take the responsibility of becoming a 
good parent, is not fit to discharge the other 
duties of citizenship. The husband who 
wilfully and knowingly neglects to perpetu- 
ate his race is not a good man, and I would 
not shake hands with him as a brother. 

"President Roosevelt is exactly right on 
the score of big families, and he'll find his 
opinions sustained by all good men regard- 
less of party. Almost all true, noble- 
minded men and women want large fam- 
ilies. Some can have none at all. I am 
sorry for them. Small families are better 
than none at all, but I do not believe in 
them. Suppose you have one or two chil- 
dren and you lose them through diseas: or 
accident. Then if you are old how will your 
lineage be perpetuated? 

"The man who does his duty to his God, 

301 The Mormon Faint of View. 

ment, which, successively over-come, shall 
by its reaction develop in man the attributes 
of God himself. One stage of this en- 
vironment is what I have called the Bible 
family. Man's duty to himself is not to 
shirk any situation the mastery of which 
will add to his honor and glory; and what 
other experience could possibly compensate 
in character-formation for the loss of 
fatherhood and motherhood in the true, un- 
trammeled sense in which God ordained 



"The upright," says Solomon, "shall 
dwell in the land, and the perfect shall re- 
main in it; but the wicked shall be cut off 
from the earth, and the transgressors shall 
be rooted out of it." Darwin told the same 
truth in a later day when he announced the 
law of the survival of the fittest. 

Writers on sociological subjects do not 
hesitate to vindicate the wisdom of Solo- 
mon in this passage nor the scientific accu- 
racy of the conclusion by Darwin, so far as 
the degenerate classes are concerned. Dr. 

The Mormon Family. 


McKim, a recent writer on "Heredity and 
Human Progress," takes the ground that 
nature refuses her sanction to the perpet- 
uity of the defective in the human race; 
among which he includes, first, the idiot or 
lowest manifestation of human degeneracy; 
second, the imbecile, or weak-minded who 
is incapable of caring for himself. Third, 
the epileptic, or person not in control of his 
nervous organization ; fourth, the habitual 
drunkard; fifth, the criminal, or moral de- 

"All individuals in civilized society," 
says McKim, "are — to some degree degen- 
erates : through a weak and vicious ances- 
try, the seeds of degeneracy have been 
scattered broadcast and may, anywhere, de- 
velop into the rankest luxuriance; but as a 
rule it is along special family-lines that we 
find the notable phenomena of degeneracy: 
insanity, idiocy, imbecility, eccentricity, 
hysteria, epilepsy, the alcohol-habit, the 
morphine-habit, neuralgia, 'nervousness,' 
St. Vitus' dance, infantile convulsions, 
stammering, squint, gout, articular rheu- 
matism, diabetes, tuberculosis, cancer, 
deafness, blindness, deaf-mutism, color- 
blindness, and a number of other abnormal 

366 The Mormon Point of View. 

conditions less well known to the lay public. 
...The history of these families usually 
shows on accelerating intensification, gener- 
ation after generation, of the fatal heritage 
until they have become extinct." 

The author proceeds to illustrate this 
last fact, by citing well authenticated fam- 
ilies, and tracing their swift descent to ex- 
tinction in some instances in the third, in 
others in the fourth and fifth generations. 
Then he adds: "It is a matter of congrat- 
ulation that there are thus removed, event- 
ually, many of those who are utterly unfit 
for human society. But this desired end is 
usually reached only after some generations 
of miserable lives; and the taint of the de- 
caying stock is by no means always elim- 
inated when a family has been brought to 
the brink of annihilation. A man of a fast 
waning stock, heavily laden with inherited 
weaknesses, marries a woman of healthy 
and vigorous descent, and, behold, the fam- 
ily name is rescued from extinction. But 
at what a cost ! .... It is in this way that 
from time immemorial the threads of 
vicious inheritance have been woven into 
the web of the human constitution."* 

'Heredity and Human Progress, pp. 65 to 70. 

The Mormon Family. 


Nature, which is only another name for 
the will of God, can have no permanent 
sanction for the weak, the corrupt, or the 
vicious. Eventually she sloughs them, as a 
tree does a worm-eaten branch; and the 
very place where they once hung on is ob- 
literated. We are now to bring into this 
same category, men and women who pride 
themselves upon being the cream of the 
race ; the rich, the haughty, the exclusive, 
who look down upon the toilers among 
mankind — as the proletariat. In mental 
and physical equipment they cannot be 
classed among the defectives, yet they are 
degenerates all the same. Their sin is 
that of utter selfishness. 

"By the sweat of thy brow, shall thou eat 
thy bread," said the Lord to the emancipat- 
ed Adam. Whoever despises this law, the 
law of personal contact with nature, cannot 
be kept sweet and wholesome, but must 
soon be given over to "unnatural affec- 
tions." Such in fact is the curse that falls 
upon the idle rich. Around them grows an 
atmosphere of sham and artificiality called 
fashion, which, however it may dazzle the 
would-be imitators in the working statum, 
cannot fail to be an abomination in the sight 

368 The Mormon Point of View. 

of the Ordainer of Nature. And so it hap- 
pens that these, too, drop out of existence 
in a very few generations. 

In illustration of this thought I cannot 
do better than quote a recent editorial of 
the Deseret News commenting upon an ar- 
ticle by Lydia K. Commander in the New 
York Independent of April 14, 1904 : 

"It contains tsays the News] an array of 
evidence, gathered from the most authen- 
tic sources, and showing the decadence of 
American stock, the decline in the Ameri- 
can birth-rate, and the open avowal of phy- 
sicians and others as to the suppression of 
offspring. The calculation of Benjamin 
Franklin, who, by the way, was one of four- 
teen children, as to what would be the pop- 
ulation in 1900, is quoted, that is, 100,000,- 
000; which was based on the average fam- 
ily of his time, namely eight. The actual 
population is but 76,000,000, of whom 
11,000,000 are foreign born and 13,000,000 
the offspring of foreign born parents leav- 
ing but 52,000,000 for American stock, or 
little more than half the number predicted. 

Investigating the effect of the announced 
prejudice of landlords in New York against 
renting houses and flats to people having 
children, the writer of that article found 
that in large numbers of families renting 

The Mormon Family. 


370 The Mormon Point of View. 

there were no children at all, and in many 
others but one child. Pursuing the inqui- 
ries, the writer visited forty-six physicians; 
several declined to discuss the matter, but 
thirty-six responded, and out of these thirty 
answered the question: "What do you 
consider the ideal American family," by 
saying, "Two children, a girl and a boy." 
One of them actually declared that, "Hav- 
ing a family is not an American ideal," and 
further remarked : "Among my patients I 
find that the majority do not want any 
children; certainly not more than one. I 
should say that as a rule the second is an 
accident, the third is a misfortune, and the 
fourth a tragedy." 

Another physician said: "The desire to 
limit or eliminate family is universal. Chil- 
dren are no more, or scarcely more, desired 
among the poor than among the rich, 
though the poor are often less successful 
in avoiding them. I am consulted profes- 
sionally in regard to this every day." An- 
other remarked, "Whenever the woman of 
the poorer classes is the least bit above the 
lower level, she desires to cease having 
children. No request is made of me often- 
er in the clinic than for advice along these 
lines." Fourteen other physicians having 
clinic experience confirmed those opinions. 
We have not space or inclination to quote 
the numerous instances cited on the subject, 
but refer the reader to the article in the In- 

dependent, which is summed up as follows: 

A review of the evidence gathered points 
to these conclusions : 

i — That the size of the American family 
has diminished. 

2 — That the decline is greatest among the 
rich and educated, but also exists to a 
marked extent, among the middle class and 
the intelligent poor. 

3 — That only the most ignorant and ir- 
responsible make no effort to limit the 
number of their children. 

4 — That not only has the large family 
disappeared, but it is no longer desired. 

5 — That the prevailing American ideal, 
among rich and poor, educated and unedu- 
cated, women and men, is two children. 

6 — That childlessness is no longer con- 
sidered a disgrace or even a misfortune; 
but is frequently desired and voluntarily 

7 — That opposition to large families is 
so strong an American tendency that our 
immigrants are speedily influenced by it; 
even Jews, famous for ages for their love 
of family, exhibiting its effects. 

8 — That the large family is not only in- 
dividually, but socially, disapproved; the 
parents of numerous children meeting pub- 
lic censure. 

The Independent editorially deplores but 
does not deny the statements and conclu- 
sions of the article from which we quote. 

The Mormon Family. 


It endeavors to promote a desire for honor- 
able and prudent marriage, however, and 
for large families of healthy intelligent 
children. It argues that "many of the very 
best women who would make the best 
mothers remain unmarried because there 
are not enough good and worthy men to 
provide them husbands." And it declares, 
"The fact is that there are two good, pure, 
high-minded women to one such man." 
And further, "Many such women do not 
meet the man worthy of them who can seek 
them in marriage, and they will not marry 
a man whom they cannot respect." If 
[concludes the News] these remarks had 
been made by a 'Mormon' writer, he would 
at once be suspected, if not accused, of ad- 
vocating polygamy." 

In placing the upper extreme of society 
in the same category with the lower, as re- 
spects the tendency to extinction, let me not 
fail to note one important difference. In 
the case of defectives, the inability to per- 
petuate the family is organic; that is to say 
it grows out of feebleness, or perverted 
physical powers. In the case of fashion 
devotees, barrenness results from wrong 
standards of life ; in other words, from per- 
verted mental powers. It is not that the 
rich and well-to-do could not have large 

372 The Mormon Point of View. 

families; it is simply that they will not be 
so "disgraced" (!) 

Mormon communities are peculiarly con- 
stituted to prove the last-named fact, made 
up as they are of broken families from 
thousands of more or less illustrious but, 
alas, fast disappearing lineages. The 
founders of the three families noted in the 
opening chapter, and hundreds like them 
throughout the Church, are descendants of 
New England, and have close relatives to- 
day among the exquisites of Boston and 
other eastern centers of culture; than 
which same exquisites it would be difficult 
to find more typical examples of racial dry 

And yet these Mormon descendants, 
these disgraced scions of many a "respect- 
able" Puritan family, are today among the 
leading exemplars of the Bible family ideal. 
Does it not seem as if the accumulated 
race instinct, long repressed by the demands 
of "culchaw," has at last burst through 
its artificial barriers, and is now reaching 
its full flood tide among the despised 
dwellers of the Rocky mountains? Leav- 
ing only the mud and debris of a stagnat- 
ed "has been" to the few dainty lingerers 

The Mormon Family. 


on the sites of its once populous and dom- 
inant family hearths ! 

Nor is this contrast less pronounced 
when families, the descendants of Eng- 
lish parents, compare births with uncles 
and cousins left in the old world. 
Whence it may be pertinently asked, Is it 
possible that influence of ideal is responsible 
for such disparity in fruitfulness betweenu 
parallel branches of the same family tree?' 
Latter-day Saints can hardly be persuaded* 
that this is the only factor at work. They 
believe literally that "children are the her- 
itage of the Lord;" but more of this ques- 
tion anon. The immediate purpose of the 
present chapter was merely to forecast in 
general some of the social changes which 
are inevitable should the Mormon family 
go on. 

It will hardly be denied that the tendency 
in the United States, like that in some of 
the countries of Europe, is, as President 
Roosevelt says, in the direction of race sui- 
cide. The statistics commented upon in the* 
editorial above quoted, will be recognized 
as exhibiting the essential truth respecting 
other communities than New York. There 
is little use denying the fact: the American 

The Mormon Family. 


heavenly emigration. Against this influx 
of Mormons they can only gnash their 
teeth in despair. 

The "American home" which figures so 
frequently in the fervid denunciations of 
Mormonism, is fast becoming a trite meta- 
phor ; that is to say, it is a thing fast being 
embalmed in the mere embellishments of 
rhetoric — and in need of such embalming. 
Long before it shall be quite mummified, 
however, the restored American home will 
be here; the natural, untrammeled home, in 
which there shall be mothers, not dames of 
fashion; and children, numerous as in the 
days of Franklin, and expecting no other 
legacy than the brain and brawn of man- 
hood and womanhood, — not as now a wea- 
zend pair or trio eyeing each other with 
distrust while waiting for the post mortem 
division of a miserable patrimony. 

"The upright shall dwell in the land, and 
the perfect shall remain in it ; but the wick- 
ed shall be cut off from the earth and the 
transgressor shall be rooted out of it." 

374 The Mormon Point of View. 

family is a decadent family. The natural 
life itself represents a magnificent river 
gradually losing itself in the sands of an 
ever-widening desert of shams and con- 

Against this tendency Mormonism is but 
a small stream at present ; but it is a living, 
sparkling, natural stream, flowing in the 
opposite direction and gathering volume 
and momentum by every rill and brooklet. 
Let these two tendencies continue and it 
needs no prophet to foretell that the Amer- 
ican family of the future will be the Mor- 
mon family, despised though it be at the 
present time. 

And this transplanting of the living for 
the dying is one which the rage and hatred 
of mobocracy cannot prevent. The tide of 
Mormon life has too many estuaries for 
anything short of total extermination to 
close. Let the rabid wardens of degenerate 
Christian cults face this situation squarely. 
They may still poison the minds of men and 
women in the world, so that the vitalizing 
truths of Mormonism shall be disregard- 
ed, and our missionaries come home as 
empty handed as they went out; but they 
cannot control the resistless tide of the 



Without being a prophet or the son of a 
prophet, I find, on re-reading the last chap- 
ter, that I have been prophesying good 
about the Mormon family and its future. 
I hasten therefore to review the basis on 
which I have ventured the prediction. This 
basis is two-fold: first, the persistence of 
the Bible ideal of family life among Latter- 
day Saints, or the triumph of race altruism ; 
and secondly, the persistence in Babylon of 
the Malthusian ideal, or the continued tri- 
umph of race-destroying selfishness. 

As to the first of these factors, I am 
aware that all has not yet been said in a 
negative way, and I shall therefore advert 
to it again. On the positive side, however, 
the evidence for the persistence of the ideal 
seems clear. The race instinct for children 
is normal at present; and owing to the 
probability for two or three generations at 
least, that Latter-day Saints will be for the 
most part a pastoral people, and so be 
moulded by regenerative contact with na- 

The Mormon Family. 


378 The Mormon Point of View. 

ture, this instinct bids fair to grow in pow- 
er rather than decrease. So, too, the re- 
ligious support for the natural family, is 
sure to grow stronger, as men investigate 
more deeply the mystery and meaning of 
mortal probation; while duty to the race, 
which includes patriotism and love of coun- 
try, will as it becomes more and more an 
object of religion, also find its noblest ex- 
pression in transmitting the torch of life 
with a crescent rather than a waning 

Let us now examine the basis of the pre- 
vailing ideal of family life in the world. In 
the country, especially on small farms, and 
wherever wealth has not accumulated be- 
yond the need of daily labor, nor decreased 
to a point where labor barely suffices for 
subsistence, the natural instinct for chil- 
dren will take care of the race, even though 
not reinforced by religious or ethical mo- 
tives; and herein lies the safety of our be- 
loved commonwealth. Compared with free 
open areas of human activity, the city is 
only a vast race cemetery for the overflow 
population of the country. 

For one generation perhaps after enter- 
ing the city, the race instinct for children 

remains normal; but before it can assert 
itself, it must live down a peculiar variety 
of temptations. There is first the lust temp- 
tation. As this is frequently the sole im- 
mediate inducement to marry, so the base 
pleasure of it is naturally inimical to pro- 
creation. Next there is the desire to escape 
toil and drudgery. The large family be- 
comes appalling to the inexperienced hus- 
band and wife, when measured by the care 
they have been devoting to a first child. 
Then many a young married pair have an 
ambition to get rich quickly, and so grudge 
their substance to their own flesh and blood. 
But perhaps the most subtle temptation is 
that presented by social functions. Women 
lose their girlish figures and other marks of 
beauty, which hitherto have fed their van- 
ity. Men must give up their clubs — an 'aw- 
ful bore.' And so it happens, especially in 
the second generation, the instinct for chil- 
dren grows at length so feeble that the fam- 
ily of two — a boy and a girl — becomes the 
ideal. Often, as the New York physician 
put it, the second of these is an accident; 
and so far from desiring more, these mar- 
ried worldlings would regard the third a 
misfortune, and the fourth a tragedy. 

The Mormon Family. 


Nor is it difficult to understand how the 
desire for children, which normally should 
be the strongest race instinct, dies alto- 
gether under the influence of modern civil- 
ization, especially in cities. The transfor- 
mations wrought by invention have left 
sacred no tradition of social life. Time was 
when the ambition of every substantial 
American was to found and perpetuate a 
noble family; society has now veered com- 
pletely round to the divorce court ideal. 
Homes are fast being supplanted by flats, 
with no provision for children; firesides 
and home circles, by theatres, concert halls, 
clubs, and dens. So fast and furious has 
become the race for wealth and pleasure, 
that children are everywhere a hindrance. 
Even work which ordinarily should bring 
its blessing of naturalness to the worker, 
has been so specialized in industrial centres 
as to add to the artificiality of life. Men no 
longer get glimpses of the natural history 
of things they make, eat, or wear. They 
are mere cogs in a wheel, making their lit- 
tle rounds in the darkness of a man-created 
world, far from the glorious sun and stars 
and the wholesome reactions of the uni- 
verse. And so with no support from re- 

"380 The Mormon Point of View. 

ligion, and duty to race a mere book senti- 
ment, small wonder that love of offspring 
•for my conviction that the Bible family, as 
life which comes in contact with nature 
•only at last in a childless, unloved grave ! 

Such then, in general, are the grounds 
for my conviction that the Bible famliy, as 
upheld by Latter-day Saints will be the 
dominant type in the America of the future. 
Mormons will not give up their family ideal, 
as long as it is supported by a living, virile 
faith; the worldly-minded, having no such 
faith, will shirk the responsibility, unde- 
terred by appeals to race patriotism. Both 
ideals will thus reach the inevitable re- 
sults by vastly accelerated movements: the 
dominant ideal by its tremendously in- 
creased power, generation after generation, 
for making converts ; the decadent ideal by 
its loss through conversion of those families 
which would otherwise have kept up the 
ratio of increase. 

Supposing, however, that the relative in- 
crease in population remains the same as 
now; viz, two and one-half for each set of 
parents in the world, and five for each set 
among the Latter-day Saints. Beginning 
with a population of 8o millions for the 


o o 

i r- 
i * m 
- > O 
; < rn 
• r- 


The Mormon Family. 


United States, the increase for ten genera- 
tions would be as follows : first ioo million ; 
second, 125 million; third, 156 million; 
fourth, 170 million; fifth, 212 Million; 
Sixth, 266 million; seventh, 332 million; 
eighth, 440 million; ninth, 551 million; 
tenth, 662 million. 

Compare with this the growth of the 
Latter-day Saints for the same time, begin- 
ning with a basis of 300 thousand. First 
generation, 750 thousand ; second, I million, 
785 thousand; third, 4 million; fourth, 11 
million; fifth, 29 million; sixth, 73 mil- 
lion ; seventh, 183 million ; eigth, 457 
million; ninth, 1144 million; tenth, 2861 

The result in ten generations would thus 
be as 2861 millions to 662 millions in favor 
of the Mormon ideal; that is to say this 
ideal will dominate the other as four to one, 
within a period of time less than that which 
has elapsed since Columbus discovered 
America. Blessed be the people who array 
themselves on the side of nature! All the 
powers of the universe are behind them. 

Ten generations, however, is a long time, 
from the human point of view, to wait for 

382 The Mormon Point of View. 

a people to veer around again to natural 
conditions. Personally I should have been 
willing to see this regeneration helped for- 
ward by the assistance of plural marriage. 
It would not have helped much in the ag- 
gregate, — only to the extent that good wo- 
men now denied families — would add to 
the regenerative forces; but looked at from 
the point of view of individual family lines, 
the results would be surprising enough. 
Elder A. M. Musser, for instance, makes 
the following unique comparison: "If Ex- 
President Cleveland's five children should 
each be as prolific as their father, his poster- 
ity in six generations would be 15,625; 
President Roosevelt's by his six children 
would, for the same time, be 46,656; A. M. 
Musser's 35 children by four wives — 20 
sons and 15 daughters, — would, were each 
son to be as prolific as the father and each 
daughter as her mother, make his descend- 
ants equal, in six generations, to 64,885,735 
souls! Verily, 'The little one shall become 
a thousand and the small one a nation.' " 

But a population of 2861 millions plus 
662 millions, or a total of over two and one- 
half billions, is an incredible population 
even for the United States. In these calcu- 

The Mormon Family. 


lations the supposition was that the ratio of 
increase remained constantly two and one- 
half per married pair in the United States 
as a whole, and five per married pair 
among Latter-day Saints. As a matter of 
fact such a ratio takes no acount of deaths 
before the age of nubility. Consequently we 
shall need to revise the results very mater- 

In a study on the growth of population 
Mr. Grant Allen a few years ago reached 
the conclusion that in order to keep the race 
stationary in numbers, it is necessary for 
every married pair to have four chilrden. 
This estimate was based partly on the grow- 
ing disinclination to marry on the part of 
many men, and partly on the study of the 
death rate among minors. At first the need 
of four births from each marriage seems un- 
duly large, considered merely as the means 
of keeping the population even; but when 
one looks around and discovers the propor- 
tion of men and women in every community 
who might but who do not marry, and re- 
flects upon the heavy mortality among chil- 
dren, and the deaths from war and acci- 
dent among adults, the estimate will be seen 
to be about correct. 

384 The Mormon Point of View. 

In a paper on "The Family" read by Pro- 
fessor Howard of Chicago University be- 
fore the world's congress of science and 
arts at the St. Louis Fair, the point was 
made that owing to improved sanitation 
and hygiene, a greater proportion of the 
children born are likely in the future to 
reach the marriageable age, than have done 
so in the past. To be entirely safe, there- 
fore, let us put the number of births neces- 
sary to keep up the population, at three in- 
stead of four per family. This still leaves 
the United States as a whole on the de- 
cadent side of population, the births being 
but two and one-half per family. Instead ol 
advancing in numbers, the population is 
retrograding at the ratio of three to two 
and one-half, or as six to five in each suc- 
cessive generation. Should no change come 
to disturb this ratio, the decrease in 350 
years or ten generations, beginning with a 
population of 80 millions, would be as fol- 
lows : first generation, 66 millions ; second, 
55 millions; third, 46 millions; fourth, 38 
millions; fifth, 32 millions, sixth, 26 mil- 
lions; seventh, 22 millions; eighth, 18 mil- 
lions; Ninth, 13 millions; and tenth, 11 mil- 

The Mormon Family. 


In the face of the recent tremendous 
growth in the population of the United 
States, no American would give his assent 
to these figures. Nevertheless, if our coun- 
try had been under the necessity of depend- 
ing solely upon the blue-blood stock of cer- 
tain old families, a decadence somewhat 
like this would already have taken place; 
and were the future in the hands of those 
people who now limit offspring to one or 
two children, this result would be inevitable. 
But America is too rich a country to 
languish for population, even though the 
old world be half depopulated in conse- 
quence. Nor need we look to foreign 
sources for keeping up an increase in our 
ranks: Latter-day Saints are Americans. 
Let us proceed to note what would be the 
growth of population among this people, 
under the Bible family ideal, for the next 
ten generations. 

Of the five children in each average Mor- 
mon family, let us allow one for the death 
rate below the age of nubility. This is a 
much smaller ratio than that exacted in 
the other calculation, and is justified on 
three considerations: (i) the Latter-day 
Saints, being active propogandists, may be 

386 The Mormon Point of View. 

expected to increase largely by conversions, 
(2) As all Latter-day Saints hold it a duty 
to God to rear an honorable family, very 
few comparatively will shirk the responsi- 
bility of married life; (3) the death-rate 
among Mormon children will, for reasons 
to be discussed in the next chapter, be much 
lower than in the United States at large. 

Four children to the family that live and 
reproduce, constitutes the simple geomet- 
rical ratio of increase, viz, two, four, eight, 
sixteen, thirty-two, etc., that disturbed the 
Rev. Thomas Robert Malthus so mightily, 
and led him to write the famous treatise,* 

•"Essay upon the Principles of Population 
as It Affects the Future Improvement of Socie- 
ty." The leading Idea of this work Is that the 
population of the earth increasing steadily In 
geometrical ratios, the world must soon be 
over-populated; and that unless means to check 
such Increase be promptly adopted, the nations 
of the earth must soon be brought to the verge 
of starvation. Malthus' remedy was abstinence 
from marriage; needless to say, believers in his 
theories have found other means of accom- 
plishing the same result. 

which has since served as moral shield for 
all who take it upon themselves to curtail 
their offspring. As Latter-day Saints are 
not among his followers, nor ever likely to 

The Mormon Family. 


be, the Mormon family will go on, undis- 
turbed by his academic prophecies. Begin- 
ning with a population of 300,000, they will 
have reached 38 millions by the sixth gen- 
eration as against the 26 million descend- 
ants from the United States as a whole, 
and 614 millions by the tenth generation, 
as against 1 1 millions, the remnants of those 
who believe in the present small-family 

Allowing one hundred million for the 
foreigners drawn to America and their de- 
scendants, and we have approximately a 
population of three-quarters of a billion 
people ; none too great for the resources of 
our marvelous country. But lest factors 
unforeseen have been left out in this calcu- 
lation, let us cut this estimate in two, or 
even in four. The influence of the Mor- 
mon ideal will still be as six to one in that 
future day. What is more immediately to 
the point, however, that influence is at work 
now, small in its power, perhaps, and nar- 
row in its field, but still on the ascendant 
scale. // is the only ideal that carries na- 
tional greatness within its womb. 



The fact that any given people shall out- 
grow and survive any other people with 
which they may be in competition, is prima 
facie evidence both by Scripture and by 
science, of their innate fitness to survive. I 
might therefore rest my argument for the 
superiority of the Mormon ideal on just 
such a broad conclusion as this ; but I prefer 
to show this same truth in detail, by con- 
sidering the inevitable reactions of 
this ideal in character formation. 

To understand and appreciate the part 
Latter-day Saints are probably destined to 
play in the social evolution of the future, it 
will be well to glance at the constitution of 
the present stock and their immediate pre- 
decessors. It is now over seventy years 
since the Church was established; long 
enough to launch well into life the leading 
spirits of the third generation, while there 
are still members of the first lingering here 
and there, and the majority of the second 
are in the prime of a vigorous manhood and 

The Mormon Family. 


390 The Mormon Point of View. 

From the fact that the fathers and moth- 
ers of the present dominant generation were 
drawn from the humble and poor among 
mankind, it is often inferred that Mormons 
are people of mean spirit. Elswhere I have 
considered this question, and can do no bet- 
ter than quote the passage here.* 

"Called by the voice of the Spirit, 'two of 8? 
family and one of a city,' and led and driven to* 
the barren wastes of the Rocky Mountains, they 
are today holding up the highest standard of 
righteousness that the world has ever seen. 
Judged superficially they may, indeed, seem 
what their traducera call them, the poor, the 
unlettered, the despised of the world, for, in 
the language of Paul, not many wise men. after 
the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, have 
the moral courage to accept the real Gospel of 
Jesus. As in the days of Christ, they have been 
chosen from the ranks of the fishermen, the 
farmers, the artislans of the world; but humble 
as they are, they are raised to the rank of true 
manhood and womanhood by a virtue which you 
that read, scholar and fine gentleman that you 
are, perchance may not possess: the moral 
courage to forsake houses and lands, break 
the dearest ties of kindred face the obloquy of 
a surprised and outraged social circle, and cast 
in your lot with a people counted the filth and 
offscourings of all things, — for the sake of an 

"Call them low-bred, if you will, — ignorant. 

•Scientific Aspects of Mormonism, p. 112. 

uncouth, mistaken zealots. — anything that will 
relieve your sense of propriety, your pitiful 
infatuation for sham and conventionality: but 
do not dare to call them cowards. For, animat- 
ing those ungraceful figures bent with toll, 
guiding the caresses of those calloused hands, 
unfitted for palette or key-board; strangely 
light in those rugged countenances, when no 
apparent cause is visible, — are the souls of 
heroes and heroines; not. indeed, of the kind 
that do and dare for the plaudits of the world; 
"but of the kind utterly unconscious that they 
are brave; fearing only the eye of their Maker, 
and seeking solace of Him in secret places, with 
tears and broken sobs, when all the world 
spurns them. 

"Such are the foundation stones that Mor- 
monism has dug from the mud and debris 'neath 
the feet of the gay and fashionable world. Such 
have been many of the Elders it has commis- 
sioned to carry its message back to their fel- 
lows in bondage. Little wonder that they avoid- 
ed the great and the learned, and labored 
among the poor. But now their sons and 
daughters are here. These need fear no com- 
parison, even by the world's standard. Tall 
and straight and comely, gifted with intellect- 
ual vigor and spiritual insight, they are among 
the flower of Shem, reserved for this last con- 
flict with sham and artificiality. Nor do they 
lack the courage of their fathers and mothers. 
At this very moment two thousand such young 
men are traveling throughout the world at the 
sacrifice of their own hard-earned means; 
preaching the message of the new dispensation 
to all who will hear it; and finding Ineffable Joy, 
even when a stone and bed of leaves by the 

The Mormon Family. 


way side serves them for rest, and the infinite 
starry canopy is the only roof above their heads. 
And at home in the vallevs. as the shades of 
night deepen, hundreds of young mothers are 
calling flocks of rosy-cheeked children with 
neat but unpretentious homes; and there in the 
little parlor they will kneel together, and pray 
that papa may be protected against mobs and 
evil designing men. 

"And there are fifty thousand other young 
men ready to go, when the call shall come; and 
as many young women ready to do their part 
in keeping up the table, rearing their children 
to fear and love the Lord,— if need be, to send 
their husbands money with which to buy shoes. 
Nor is this fanaticism; it results from a dyna- 
mic realization of that reciprocal and indlsolu- 
ble ideal — love of God and love of man; it is 
only a sane and rational approach toward that 
altruism which shall in time be world-wide,— a 
clear sensing of the law that he who would lose 
his life shall save It, he who would save his 
life shal lose it. And though the results, meas- 
ured In converts are meagre enough, yet meas- 
ured in their reactions on the charcter of the 
Latter-day Saints as a people, they are above 
the price of rubles." 

How, let me ask the scientific reader, will 
the moral courage that dared face the scorn 
of the world, and afterward was undeterred 
by the hardships of the American desert, — 
how, I repeat, may we expect these sterling 
qualities of character inherent and devel- 
oped in the fathers and mothers of the earlier 

392 The Mormon Point of View. 

generation, to affect the offspring of today 
and the future? Was it not an admirable 
school of adversity in which to lay the foun- 
dations of a virile people? 

Consider next the fact that these sturdy 
men and women are drawn from every- 
where in Europe and America, and that 
there is consequently such a mingling of 
blood from widely separated peoples as per- 
haps no other place in the world presents 
examples of. What effect for strengthening 
and invigorating the race must this inti- 
mate commingling of nationalities have on 
the physical basis of life? Let the student 
of anthropology come and see the transfor- 
mation that a single generation has brought 
about and then let him estimate the power 
of this factor in fitting the Mormons of the 
future to survive. 

But the factors that promise most for the 
future of this people are the ideals which 
cluster around the marriage covenant. 
There is first the idea that the union is not 
merely for time but also for eternity. That 
is to say, a marriage pronouncement by 
authority from God, if a divine dispensa- 
tion for two souls to become, during the 
countless ages before them, one self -per- 

The Mormon Family. 


394 The Mormon Point of View. 

petuating being; a being having the same 
power of begetting or creating life that God 
himself has. This union is not merely one 
of poetical sentiment; on the contrary it is 
precisely that which was contemplated by 
Paul when he said : "The man is not with- 
out the woman, nor the woman without the 
man, in the Lord." It takes the two to make 
the One ; a single being may be saved but 
he would be only half of a self-perpetuating 
being, and therefore infertile. God distinct- 
ly points out this dual character in himself 
when He declared that He made man and 
woman in His image. 

Such a conception must inevitably tend to 
the stability of the marriage covenant. Not 
that divorces cannot be had in the Mormon 
Church; for Latter-day Saints realize that 
the ceremony is not the real binding power. 
The ceremony is to the final union merely 
what the wrapping is to the graft, — a means 
of holding in place the parts till it becomes 
evident or not that they will unite. If the 
union becomes organic as when the graft 
grows and becomes part of the tree, then it 
is a true marriage. Little need to say of 
such a union, "Let no man put it asunder :" 
for in this case, as in that of the growing 

The Mormon Family. 


the fulfilling of the first divine command, 
with all the blessings of domestic life in- 
cident thereto. And since the constancy of 
the marriage covenant is the strongest safe- 
guard of the home, the Mormon ideal pre- 
sents thus at the outset an unusually strong 
mark of enduring character. 

We may next note that in the phrase, 
'righteous posterity' lies another ideal as- 
sociated with Mormon marriage. It is not 
enough merely to bring children into the 
world : they must never be suffered to for- 
get the purpose of mortal life. "Inasmuch," 
says a revelation to Joseph Smith, "as par- 
ents have children in Zion, or in any of her 
Stakes which are organized, that teach them 
not to understand the doctrine of repentance, 
faith in Christ the Son of the living God, 
and of baptism and the gift of the Holy 
Ghost by the laying on of the hands, when 
eight years old, the sin be upon the head of 
the parents, for this shall be a law unto the 
inhabitants of Zion or any of her Stakes 
which are organized ; and their children 
shall be baptized for the remission of their 
sins, when eight years old and receive the 
laying on of the hands; and they shall also 

graft, the spiritual knitting together is that 
of divine law, and what God has thus joined 
no man can put asunder. Divorces are 
possible only where the union remains me- 
chanical (as when the graft refuses to 
grow). Conventional bonds may hold two 
such beings together during mortal proba- 
tion ; but nothing save a spiritual interming- 
ling of life with life can make the marriage 

Of course every effort is made to prevent 
hasty action in ill-mated marriages, and to 
remove, if possible, the cause of friction, to 
the end that the parties may find the true 
basis of becoming one. In many, perhaps 
most, cases, marriages entered into on 
wrong lines, may thus be righted ; but where 
the bond continues to be mechanical, show- 
ing so signs of becoming organic, and pro- 
duces irritation rather than love and har- 
mony, manifestly the principles of salva- 
tion are sub-served by a divorce. But sep- 
arations of this kind are not very common, 
and will become fewer as the Latter-day 
Saints come into the full heritage of the 
Gospel ; for then marriage will not take 
place from any other motive than the beget- 
ting of a righteous posterity ; in other words, 

396 The Mormon Point of View. 

teach their children to pray and to walk 
uprightly before the Lord "* 

The virile part of instruction, however, is 
always example ; to which end parents must 
live a life worthy of imitation. This in- 
volves, among other things the keeping of 
the 'Word of Wisdom/ a revelation to the 
Prophet Joseph enjoining abstinence from 
all narcotic and alcoholic stimulants; such 
as tea, coffee, tobacco, beer, wine and whis- 
key; also from meats save in times of cold 
weather or famine. Let us not forget, in this 
connection that we are considering the ques- 
tion of whether the Mormon family is likely 
to survive, in the sense of being fitter to 
survive, that the ideal against which it is 
in competition now, were there no other 
factor in the social life of Mormonism than 
this same living according to the 'Word of 
Wisdom,' it alone would be conclusive. Pre- 
serve intact the integrity of the nervous 
system for a generation or two, and you 
cannot fail to have a race vitally superior 
to one which has been undermined genera- 
tion after generation by neuratic poisons. 

Another ideal associated with the rearing 
of children is one already referred to; viz, 

^Doctrine and Covenants, p. 251. 

The Mormon Family. 


the obligation to ceaseless industry. "Let 
every man be diligent in all things," says 
the Lord in a revelation to Joseph Smith. 
"And the idler shall have no place in the 
Church, except he repent and mend his 
ways."* Here is another passage: "Thou 
shalt not be idle; for he that is idle shall 
not eat the bread nor wear the garments 
of the laborer." fSo also in another revela- 
tion: "And the inhabitants of Zion also 
shall remember their labors . . .in all faith- 
fulness; for the idler shall be had in re- 
membrance before the Lord."** as before 
suggested these injunctions may be regarded 
as merely re-emphasizing the work-side of 
the fourth commandment, which had been 
lost sight of as a moral duty. 

Be this as it may, the point to be con- 
sidered here is the contribution which honest 
toil, when joined with temperance and fru- 
gality, makes toward the building up of a 
virile race. Did space permit, it would not 
be difficult to show that the greatest bless- 
ing given to mankind, — and one, morover 
without which salvation in Heaven or even 

'Doctrine and Covenants, p. 264. 
tlbid, p. 173. 
•• Ibid. 251. 

The Mormon Family. 


of eternal life, will there be any station in 
the world of thought and enlightened pro- 
gress that he will not ultimately fill? 

I have thus outlined in brief some of the 
ideals clustering around the marriage cov- 
enant ; and the consequent power which such 
ideals give toward race stability. There is 
(i) a recognition of the eternal nature of 
that covenant and hence the power such 
an ideal gives to combat the present social 
tendency toward divorce; (2) there is the 
recognition of the object of marriage as that 
of begetting offspring, with an enlightened 
understanding of the reasons therefore both 
immediate and ultimate, and hence the pow- 
er to combat the present social tendency to 
race suicide; (3) there is the recognition 
of the duty to rear children in the fear of 
the Lord, and therefore the power of prepet- 
uating "Mormonism:" (4) there is the 
avoidance of narcotics and all other nerve 
poisons, and consequently the power to keep 
up the highest of physical and mental vi- 
tality; (5) there is the recognition of thrift 
and industry as a moral duty, not only for 
the sake of a living on earth, but as the only 
means of attaining eternal life, and hence 
the power which work compels of living 

398 The Mormon Point of View. 

civilization on earth, would be impossible, — 
is this same necessity of daily labor, so long 
decried by orthodox theology as the curse 
of Adam. It is a blessing even to him who 
accepts it with the spirit of a slave, espec- 
ially when compared with the demoralizing 
effects of idleness ; but it is a greater bless- 
ing to him who meets it with a glad heart, 
and recognizes in it, not only the means of 
winning a livelihood on earth, but the only 
means of carving out the life eternal. 

A fundamental tenet of Mormonism is 
that 'no man can be saved in ignorance.' 
Joseph Smith declared that 'a man is saved 
no faster than be gains intelligence;' also 
that 'the glory of God is intelligence.' It 
is only as man becomes like God that he is 
saved. There is only one way to become 
like Him: that is by progressively attaining 
intelligence. It follows that no man can 
rear a family acording to the Mormon ideal 
without giving his children every advantage 
within his power toward securing an educa- 
tion. The needs of social service, — the work 
to be done in the world, — would alone suf- 
fice to stimulate this aspect of Mormon so- 
cial evolution ; when those needs however 
are re-enforced by the Mormon's very hope 

400 The Mormon Point of View. 

ever in touch with the wholsome influences 
of the natural world ; (6) there is finally 
the recognition of intelligence not only as 
the master key to all social service on earth, 
but as the very nature and essence of salva- 
tion and exaltation in a world to come, and 
hence the probability that Mormons will 
ultimately be at the very forefront of all en- 
lightened movements for the replenishing 
and subduing' of this planet. 

Consider next what environment is con- 
tributing to Mormon fitness to survive? 
the Rocky Mountains, inaccessible save as 
conquered by the pick and drill ; the desert, 
silent and sullen save as man compels the 
disclosure of its hidden stores of wealth; 
the clear sky, the untainted atmosphere, the 
boundless freedom of open areas, the brood- 
ing of overshadowing peaks and ranges,— 
all these factors are silently imparting a 
largeness of ideals, a strength and rugged- 
ness of character, and a dominancy of man- 
hood which cannot fail to make themselves 
felt more and more in the affairs of man- 

Another environment equally potent for 
the future of the race is to be found in 
the very nature of the Mormon family it- 

The Mormon Family. 


402 The Mormon Point of View. 

self. Where many children live together, 
the democratic virtues, as well as those more 
refined qualities summed up in the word 
altruism, cannot fail to thrive. Industry, 
self-reliance, mutual forbearance, the give- 
and-take spirit, fraternal sympathy — all the 
qualities so essential to a republic have 
•their birth-place in such a family. Nor is it 
easy to see how they could be born, let alone 
thrive, in the selfish atmosphere of the pres- 
ent so-called American ideal. Will any 
sociologist advocate the thought that this 
nation could have come into existence, had 
it been necessary to recruit the Continental 
army from the superaesthetic pairs or trios 
of the present fashionable family? Could 
even the notion of freedom have been en- 
gendered from such social narrowness? 
Fancy Benjamin Franklin the beribboned 
Fauntleroy of an American palace, instead 
of the thirteenth child of a family of fifteen ! 
There still is another factor, which, 
though it comes rather within the purview 
of faith than of scientific research, is none 
the less to be reckoned with in estimating 
the momentum of Mormonism upon future 
ages. As before suggested, it is incredible 
to Latter-day Saints that mere change of 

The Mormon Family. 403 



Before the conclusion reached at the close 
of the last chapter can be realized,Latter-day 
Saints must master certain problems which 
are even now conforting them ; problems of 
a distinctly disintegrating character. 

The first I shajl mention is a growing 
tendency among would-be fashionable fam- 
ilies in our midst to be ashamed of and want 
to apologize for their large families. In 
other cases they have taken care that there 
should be no occasion for such apology. 
Both types are often among the most highly 
respected people of our towns and villages. 
I call to mind now one professor in our 
Church schools to whose fireside only the 
fashionable two have yet been permitted to 
come. In my opening chapter I suggested 
that such people, though in the Church, were 
not really of it. They may have been of it 
at one time, but sentimentality of this type is 
foreign to the sturdiness of Mormonism ; it 
is in fact, comparable only to the yellowness 

ideal should alone be responsible for their 
marvelous fertility; their faith is direct and 
simple enough to believe that the God who 
made Sarah's womb fruitful, and heard the 
prayers of Hannah and Elizabeth, is like- 
wise blessing them with the care of glorious 
spirits which the world at large are reject- 
ing. In short they believe that being born 
is no more an accidental occurrence,than go- 
ing to a new country. We all lived in 
heaven during a pre-existence antedating 
earth-life perhaps by millions of years; we 
are called to be born on earth by a law as 
inevitable as the law which takes us from 
the earth again. Consequently spirits go, 
on the earth-plane, where God distributes 
them; and herein lies the chief reason why 
Mormons believe in the transcendent mis- 
sion their posperity is to play in the affairs 
of the world; not only transcendent as to 
numbers, but also as to leadership. In short 
they believe that through this same despised 
and universally contemned lineage will be 
ushered in eventually, the Millennium, or 
Christ's reign on earth. 

404 The Mormon Point of View. 

which occasionally strikes some limb of an 
otherwise healthy tree; whereby we know 
that nature is beginning the process of 
sloughing that branch. 

Various plausible excuses are put for- 
ward, if this attitude be questioned ; as, "My 
wife's health will not permit her to raise a 
family" (which would be legitamate enough 
if it were true. She is often well enough, 
however, for euchre parties three or four 
nights a week). Or, "We desire to get a 
home-nest before we get birdies," which is 
generally a very transparent subterfuge. I 
happen to know (from personal experience) 
that a child may be well-born even in a dug- 
out Or, "We do not believe in large fam- 
ilies: we believe it is better to raise one 
or two children in culture and refinement, 
than half a dozen in poverty. The world 
would be better off if— etc." This latter 
argument leads directly to the justification 
urged by Malthus. 

Let no man deceive himself: these ar- 
guments, however cunningly they may be 
dressed up, are no part of the spirit and 
genius of Mormonism. Tear off the mask 
and one sees at a glance their real hue and 
bias. They are the old justifications put 

The Mormon Family. 


forward by the ideal which now all but com- 
pletely foredooms Babylon ; and they spring 
from precisely the same old root of desire 
for personal ease and comfort; disguised 
perhaps as culture, love of refinement, fash- 
ion, and ostentation. Given selfishness, 
which lurks in every human heart, and a. 
good bank account and presently we shalB 
have — no matter where, whether in Mormons 
or in heathen land, — a marriage between? 
them which shall give birth to pomp> audi 
show, sham and artificiality, everything bat 
children. Such people will have carriages 
and fine horses, or perhaps automobiles; 
they will even have poodles and lapdogs, 
but they draw the line at their own off- 
spring. And on the whole, this is well ; for 
should such selfishness pile up generation 
after generation, it would at last become 

The treatment of this defection amongf 
Latter-day Saints must for the most part 
be constitutional. Establish again between 
them and God the communion which we 
speak of as an abiding testimony of the Gos- 
pel, and the Malthusian ideal of family life 
will soon give way to the Bible ideal. Often, 
however, the remedy needs to be local as 

The Mormon Family. 


nearly even, the male and female popula- 
tion. What subtle poison is it, then, that 
she distils into the veins of the male sex, 
to make the number of men fit for married 
life comparatively smaller than the number 
of women? Everywhere in the world does 
this seem to be the case. The disproportion 
seems not to be so great among Latter-day 
Saints, though just what it is cannot be told 
in percentages. From the very difficulty of 
drawing the line of fitness, this disparity 
must ever remain a general quality; and 
yet there it is, recognizable in all our wards, 
by any one who will give attention to a gen- 
eral comparison of the sexes. 

Manifestly the working out of this prob- 
lem lies in the direction of making every 
boy worthy as a husband of his birth-mate 
girl; not only worthy of her, but willing 
to assume the responsibility of honorable 
wedlock. Seriously, let me ask, have we 
as Latter-day Saints done all that we might 
have done in this direction? 

The answer must be an unequivocal no. 
We have not even waked up to a realization 
of where the 'defection in character comes 
in. I spoke just now of nature distilling the 
weakness into the veins of the male. This 

406^ .,The Mormon Point of View. 

well ; yolng married people must be taught 
the folly of putting off till a later period in 
vlife the begetting of children while they en- 
joy the pleasures of society and amass 
wealth and physical comforts. A day comes 
at last when they will reap a harvest of re- 
morse. Even in the fashionable circles of 
the world,— such is the testimony of physi- 
cians, women, who, while young and attrac- 
tive were willing to go through fire and 
water to avoid maternity, would, when it 
becomes too late, go through hell-fire itself, 
if thereby they might retrieve the conse- 
quences of their folly. Among Latter-day 
Saints the remorse is more terrible by how 
much the sinners realize more truly what 
they have lost 

The next problem is that which results 
directly from our having given up plural 
marriage. How, under present social cir- 
cumstances, shall we make good the ideal 
that every woman worthy of maternity, has 
natural inalienable right to a husband and 
children; as truly so as that every worthy 
man has a natural inalienable right to a 
wife and children? 

Nature seems to provide for this social 
equality of the sexes, by keeping even, or 

408 The Mormon Point of View. 

■seems, however, very improbable. Of twins, 
begotten by the same impulse, and sub- 
ject to the same parental influences, is it ra- 
tional to believe that the boy inherits tenden- 
cies which shall make him unworthy the re- 
sponsibilities of wedlock, and that the girl 
does not? The trouble will be found, I 
think, in the fact that we have a double 
moral standard for the bringing up of chil- 
dren. We may think that this is not the 
case, so naturally and unconsciously does 
the race transmit the distinctions between 
■what boys may do, and what girls may do. 
To bring out the fact of this double standard 
of training, which, be it remembered, begins 
with infancy and does not end till parents 
lose all control, just suppose your girls at- 
tempting to do what you excuse in your 
boys; or suppose your boys restricted in 
deportment and conduct by the moral code 
which it seems so natural to impose upon 
girls. Is not the fact plain? 

In this inequality of training lies, I be- 
lieve, the cause of much of the disparity in 
the outcome of connubial worthiness. In- 
teresting as is this question, space will not 
permit me to enter into it. Indeed, a theme 
even as long as this one, would hardly do 

The Mormon Family. 


it justice. However, it is surely worthy of 
our most careful investigation. On the face 
of it, there seems no radical reason why all 
our young men should not be fitted, individ- 
ual for individual, to mate with our young 
women, and when this reform shall have 
"been brought about, the problem of not 
abridging woman's right to marry and beget 
children, any more than man's, is now 
abridged, will have been largely solved with- 
out the intervention of plural marriage. 

A third problem which thereatens the dis- 
integration of Mormonism is the unmiti- 
gated curse of accumulating, and especially 
of bequeathing much wealth. Most truly 
did the poet say, — more truly than he could 
possibly have known — 

"111 fares the land, to hastening ills a prey, 
Where wealth accumulates and men decay." 

The mere accumulation, brings, as we 
have seen in nine cases out of ten, the curse 
of diverting a man from the true, eternal 
purposes of life and makes him follow a 
trivial earthly substitute,— a blind but 
gaudily lighted trail, which must inevitably 
end in an abyss. But the accumulation, can- 

The Mormon Family. 


the camel, and the eye of a needle ; making 
the latter merely a small gate, where the 
camel's load had to be taken off. But the 
problem of a rich man's entering the King- 
dom of God appeals to me. I rather believe 
in the old interpertation, in which the needle 
was a needle ; for the curse upon the accum- 
ulator of riches is that they take man away 
from the God he found in days of poverty; 
the curse they bring to him who inherits 
them is that he developes no desire to find 
God, nor even things Godly. 

Thank Heaven for the social conditions 
which have scattered the wealth of Zion 
evenly, so that none are very poor, none 
very rich, and all must labor for their daily 
bread. The problem on which the perpetu- 
ity of the Mormon family ideal depends, is 
to keep up this industrial equality. Let no 
Latter-day Saint shape his business so as to 
leave wealth to his children. If there is 
danger of it, let him beget more children 
and see to it that when they have been 
equipped for life by all the power that home 
training and a liberal education can give, — 
equipped with flawless bodies and virile 
minds, — there shall be no patrimony left to 
quarrel about. Thus shall he set their faces 
and nerve their hearts for the struggle wit'i 
life ; the glorious struggle which has solva- 
tion and exaltation bound up with it, and 
which is no more felt by the inheritor of 
wealth than if he were a golden chrysalis 

410 The Mormon Point of View. 

not from the verv nature of the reactions 
for good which are bound up in the word 
accumulate bring to the posessor a tithe of 
the damnation which the bequeathing of 
wealth brings to the recipient. 

Think what opportunities for character 
developement such a father robs his son of 1 
To be born in a palace is a calamity which 
nothing in the rich man's life can compen- 
sate for. Instead of the winter morning 
tingling his ears and toes as he moves about 
doing his chores, chopping wood, carrying 
water, milking cows, feeding horses, shuck- 
ing corn, instead of the hot summer day 
filled with toil, and sweat, and gnats in his 
hair, and a thousand anxieties about a thou- 
sand duties; instead of the natural earth 
and sky, and sun, moon, and stars, and all 
the wealth of the universe that God spreads 
out to mould and fashion us, through pain 
and pleasure, hunger, thirst, and however 
else the infinite can get in its whack at our 
sluggish finite — instead of all this life open 
to the poor boy, behold him, the princeling, 
yawning upon immaculate pillows an hour 
after sunrise, and reaching sleepily out to 
touch a button ! How must the angels weep 
to behold such a spectable of effeminacy I 

How can such a child ever be born of 
God? How can his soul he stirred to the 
harmonies of the universe? How can he 
ever be saved ? It has become fashionable to 
spiritualize Christ's parable of the rich man, 

412 The Mormon Point of View. 

sleeping the ages through in an ebony co- 
coon. If these children in turn shall win; 
undue wealth, let them use it so as to leave 
their offspring poor; never forgetting that 
the greatest blessing any mortal can be 
born to here below is life untrammeled by 
artificial accumulations. 

But all the problems of the Lattei-day 
Saints are summed up in the one problem: 
how to awaken the spiritual life in their 
children, and how to keep the divine torch 
ablaze. To make them members of the 
Church is very easy — by baptizing them: 
when they are eight years of age. They 
are thus in the kingdom, but not of it. Nor 
will they ever be of it by anything that any- 
one else can do for them ; each must be born 1 
of God on his own account, before his life 
can vitally mingle with the life of the 
Church. When, however, he is so made 
one with Christ, he will perpetuate the Mor- 
mon ideal of family life as surely as the 
bud which grows will in due time blossom 
and bear fruit after its kind. 

On this divine basis, and on this alone.wilf 
the Latter-day Saint be instrumental in ful- 
filling the promises made to Abramam : that 
his seed should become as numerous as the 
stars in Heaven or the sands upon the sea 
shore; and thereby should the nations of 
the earth be blessed. 


Vote.— Being absent in the Eastern States when No. 4 
was published, I was obliged to trust the proof-reading to 
another, with the results indicated below. Corrections 
are in bold- face type. 
I 'age 315. Kindness for Kindnes; Oh'forO, 

324. persists for presists; homeward for hom- 


325. across for aoros; yawns for yearns. 
328. sly for shy. 

333. I for 1. 

341. number for nuramer. 

343. succeed for succeeded. 

345. conservatively for conservative. 

353. have for had; knitting for knotting. 

354. quantity for quality. 

i67. shalt for shall; stratum for statum. 

372. Read: descendants of New England stock. 

380. Instead of 3rd line read: dies within them. 
How pathetic is that ; also their for the 
before inevitable, and Suppose for Sup- 

386. Foot note should be at bottom of page. 

390. strangely lighting for light in. 

391. into neat for with neat; indissoluble for ln- 

disoluble; shall for shal. 

392. Is for if, on 3rd line from bottom, 
394. no signs for so signs. 

396. than the ideal for that etc; Were for were; 

Neurotic for neuratic. 

397. As before for as etc; has been lost for had 

etc: moreover for morover. 

398. according for acording. 

399. therefor for therefore; perpetuating for 


402. posterity for posperlty. 

404. legitimate for legitamate. 

" 406. Read: a natural inalienable right. 

407. quantity for quality. 

408. prenatal for parental. 

409. Inevitably for lnevilably. 

410. spectacle for spectable. 

411. Read : appeals to me as next to Impossible. 

412. Abraham for Abramam. 

To be pasted at the end of No. 4, Mormon Point of View . 

For a complete catalogue send to: 
CATALOGUE A. P.O. Box 612. West Jordan. Utah. 84084 


ni - 





c C5 




SQOd 1 M8"2 

The Mormon point -ol-viev 

• elson NelsL ^elsLars) 

18<5: 1946